The Himachal Pradesh CPM has condemned the decision of the state regulatory commission for the hike in electricity charges to the tune of 16%. CPM state leader and Deputy Mayor of Shimla MC Tikender Singh Panwar said that this will severely affect the consumers in the state. He added that it’s an irony that the state that boasts of being a power state has to tax its consumers for electricity which has a high growth potential in the state. CPM has asked the state government to meet this burden from the share that it is supposed to get from the BBMB. The state must vigorously pursue for the delivery of the sum as has been ordered by the Supreme Court of India.
The CPM leader Tikender Singh Panwar, in his press communiqué, ridiculed the state regulatory commission and the state government for allowing concessional rates to the industrial houses during the peak hours of their consumption. He termed it hilarious and said that the area which contributes major chunk of revenue flow has been given concession. The industries contribute over 56% of the revenue share of the state electricity board. By providing concession to the industrial sector, the revenue will fall which will be compensated by the domestic consumers. The party has condemned the state government for allowing such type of cross subsidization where the poor pay for the subsidies offered to the rich.
The CPM has called upon the people to resist the hike and thoroughly expose the sinister designs of successive Congress and BJP governments whose policies have been responsible for the crumbling of the state electricity board. Both these parties are wedded to neo- liberalism and have followed the policies which are detrimental to the service sectors of the economy. They initially privatized the state electricity board and have formed a company. Then the major area of operation of the electricity board i.e. generation was snatched and now it is the private sector that generates major share of electricity in the state. The state electricity board was virtually crippled. Now even the distribution is being planned to be handed over to the private hands. These policies have led to the successive hike in the electricity tariff. The state that has tremendous potential of generating hydro power has been dwarfed by allowing this sector to be harnessed by the private players especially generating cronies of the state like the JP industries that has a major share of hydro power generation in the state, thus crippling the electricity board. The party shall expose this and shall launch a mass campaign to save the electricity board and ensure that the hike is withdrawn.