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Government, industry reach pact, subsidised tariff from Jan 1

Chandigarh, December 20: The state industry has been left with little option but to cooperate with the cash-strapped government on the issue of getting subsidised power at Rs 5 per unit. Citing its poor fiscal health and inability to give power at subsidised rates from November 1, the state asked industry representatives to “bear with them”.

The new subsidised power tariff will now be applicable from January 1, 2018.Amid protests by some industry representatives, mainly from Ludhiana and Mandi Gobindgarh, it has finally been decided that the power tariff hiked retrospectively (to be charged from April 1 to October 31) will be borne equally by the state government and the industry. In the process, the state government will take a hit of Rs 300 crore.

Sources told The Tribune that during the meeting chaired by Power Minister Rana Gurjit Singh, government officials argued that though the government was inclined to fulfil its promise, its hands were tied. Some industrialists, including SC Ralhan, threatened to walk out of the meeting after the government expressed its inability to give subsidised power.

The industry representatives, which included prominent industrialists from across Punjab, representatives of the CII and PHD Chamber, were also told that in lieu of accepting this proposal of bearing 50 per cent tariff retrospectively, the government would now charge them only a single variable power tariff till March 31 (where industrial consumers pay only on the units of power consumed).

RS Sachdeva, chairman, PHD Chamber, told The Tribune that an assurance was also given that for the next fiscal, the government and the industry representatives would approach the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission and ensure that in case a two-part tariff was imposed (variable tariff and fixed tariff, based on sanctioned industrial load), the fixed tariff would be capped at Rs 6.57 per unit.

With the issue now resolved, it will be taken up in the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Retrospective hike to be split Amid protests by industry representatives, it has finally been decided that the power tariff hiked retrospectively (to be charged from April 1 to October 31) will be borne equally by the state and the industry. In the process, the state government will take a hit of Rs 300 crore.

Source Tribune India

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