While preparations are on in full swing for Make in India Week, manufacturers in the state are sounding a discordant note. They have petitioned the state government to reduce the power tariff for industries. However, this demand is in danger of being drowned in a clash between two departments – power and industries – of the state government. Incidentally, the state government will submit its annual tariff proposal later this month.
Ahead of the week-long event, which kicks off on February 13, industry leaders have asked the state government to urgently reduce the tariff for high-tension industrial consumers. According to an official in the power department, the delegation said the power tariff in Maharashtra was 25% to 45% higher than in neighbouring states.
According to the delegation, the state must do more to attract big-ticket investors. But while the industries department, headed by Shiv Sena minister Subhash Desai, has backed the demand, the power department, held by BJP leader Chandrashekhar Bawankule, is against it.
Industries minister Subhash Desai said he had been apprised of the situation. “I expressed my support for their demand. In fact, even the power department has agreed to the demand. It has decided to reduce the tariff and submit a proposal to the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) accordingly,” Desai said.
However, Bawankule denied this, saying the department was already doing enough for industries to prosper in the state. “We have announced various ways in which industries can take advantage of lower tariffs if they decide to tweak their operations a bit. Somehow, industries must also reach a middle ground,” he said.
Pointing to the state’s policy of offering a 26% concession on night tariff for industries, he said, “I’ve asked manufacturers to take advantage of this concession repeatedly but they refuse to do so.”
In addition, a senior official of the power department said that the state’s tariff, if all such concessions are taken into account, is lower than that of other states. “Industries should also remember that the investment climate and political stability in Maharashtra is much more conducive than in, say, Chhattisgarh. Hence, such states can’t be compared to ours,” said the official, who did not wish to be named.