'Naidu should decide on power tariff soon'

NEW DELHI, SEPT. 2. The Minister of State for Home, Mr. Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, said today that the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr. Chandrababu Naidu, should decide on a slab-rate system for power tariff and announce it during the ongoing Assembly session.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr. Rao also suggested several measures to provide relief to the flood-hit victims.

The State should also call regionwise meeting of the MPs to sort out problems affecting different areas and the implementation of the MP Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme.

Reacting to the Chief Minister's statements that the State would consider power tariff hike and review the slab-system after January, Mr. Rao suggested that since the issue had acquired political overtones, Mr. Naidu should make an announcement immediately and set at rest the controversy. On calling a regionwise meeting, Mr. Rao said while the MPs were granting funds through the MPLAD scheme, in many cases the State was not releasing the matching grant. For instance, the Telangana region was facing severe problems on various accounts, including influx of weavers whose powerlooms in neighbouring States were closed. The migration of skilled workers to the Gulf also resulted in problems for those left behind.

On relief for the flood-hit, the Minister said while the Centre would grant assistance in due course, the State could initiate schemes to provide succour to the flood-hit victims. He suggested notification of a period under the Rural Indebtedness Relief Act, enactment of Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and rescheduling of the repayment of loans.

Through a notification, the State could declare loans taken by farmers and others during a specific period and in notified areas as deemed to have been paid and provide relief to the debt-ridden people.

The State could enact a legislation on the lines of Maharashtra whereby unemployed people in villages were shortlisted and the State would have to provide them with either work or grains within 15 days of the publication of such a list in each mandal.

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