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Residents see a volt face

Whatever the Delhi government’s compulsions for doing away with the subsidy on power tariff, the Capital’s residents are not convinced, reporst HT Correspondent.

delhi Updated: Aug 24, 2009 23:58 IST

Whatever the Delhi government’s compulsions for doing away with the subsidy on power tariff, the Capital’s residents are not convinced.

Coming so soon after the crippling power shortages that saw many areas going without electricity for up to 10 hours in a day, and just a few months after the Lok Sabha elections, the hike has left residents fuming.

Residents feel that after tasting success in elections to both the Delhi Assembly and the Lok Sabha in a year’s time, the government is no longer inclined to be ‘people-friendly’.

Strong opposition

“We strongly oppose any such move by the Delhi government,” said Dr MK Mohanty, president of Delhi Citizens’ Front. “We are meeting the chief minister to discuss this on Tuesday.”

Rajiv Kakria of GK-1 residents’ welfare association said residents were already “enduring inflated electricity bills, thanks to the new (electronic) meters”.

“This (removal of subsidy) is an anti-people move,” said Kakria.

During June, Delhi was in the grip of the worst power crisis since power distribution was privatised in the city seven years ago. Residents faced eight to 10 hours of outages for days.

“Consumers do not gain from the reduction in losses of power companies. But they are burdened with extra costs for no reason,” said Pankaj Aggarwal, secretary general of RWAs’ Joint Front, an umbrella body of RWAs.

“Due to the Assembly elections late last year, followed by Lok Sabha elections this year, the government kept paying the subsidy, but now that no political compulsions exist, consumers will have to pay more,” said Rajender Ramphall of Inderpuri RWA.

Seeing an opportunity to derive political mileage from the tariff hike, the main Opposition, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has threatened to mobilise protests on the streets.

“We will protest so that the government rolls back the decision,” said BJP leader VK Malhotra, leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly.