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‘Roll back tariff hike’

delhi Updated: Aug 30, 2011 23:34 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Making their voices of dissent felt on the floor of the House, Congress MLAs Mukesh Sharma, Subhash Chopra and Neeraj Basoya on Tuesday criticised the Delhi government for "playing in the hands power distribution companies".

Threatening to take to the streets, the three legislators demanded immediate rollback of the increased power tariff and an immediate audit of the accounts of power distribution companies by an audit body.

Meanwhile, the government announced a subsidy for those consuming up to 200 units per month.

It was, however, a tough day for the treasury bank as it faced dual attack from the Opposition as well as its own party MLAs. While the Opposition demanded a debate on auditor report on the alleged irregularities in the Commonwealth Games, the Congress legislators hammered the government on power tariff hike.

"The hike has affected the common man. It should be rolled back immediately," said Uttam Nagar MLA Mukesh Sharma.

"No one knows anything about the earnings and expenditure of these three companies. The power regulator had earlier said the discoms had R4,000 crore surplus. Now it has increased tariff by 22%. The balance sheet of these companies should be tabled in the House and the audit body should examine their records."

The three MLAs launched a scathing attack on chief minister Sheila Dikshit and power minister Haroon Yusuf and embarrassed the government by speaking under the provisions of 'call attention motion'.

Kalkaji MLA Subhash Chopra said when power distribution was privatised the consumers were promised better quality of power and check on distribution losses which would result in reduction in power tariff.

"The discoms downsized the manpower, brought down the transmission and distribution losses by more than 40% and the worth of their assets have gone up. Even the former chairman of the DERC had said the discoms were in surplus. Where has all the money gone?" Chopra said.

Justifying the power regulator's decision of allowing 21.77% hike, Yusuf said tariff had been increased after six years.

"In all these years, the fuel cost has gone up by 103%, the consumer price index has gone up to 58% and there is 45% increase in wages and salaries," Yusuf said.

"To benefit consumers, the government has decided to give Rs 1/unit subsidy to those who consume up to 200 units per month. This move will benefit almost two-third of Delhi's population," Yusuf said.

"It will cost Delhi government Rs 180 crore," he added.