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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Farmers protest against proposed increase in domestic power rates

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, June 03, 2014
First Published: 11:23 IST(3/6/2014) | Last Updated: 11:25 IST(3/6/2014)

Farmers of Amritsar districton Monday held a protest outside the office of chief engineer (border zone) of the Punjab State Power Corporation (Powercom) to protest against the proposed hike in domestic rate by around 12% per unit from the existing Rs. 6.25 per unit.

The protest was led by Jamhuri Kisan Sabha leaders Satnam Singh Ajnala, Rattan Singh Randhawa and several others.

Addressing reporters after the protest, Randhawa claimed that they have the information that Powercom was planning to hike domestic rates by around 12%, that would put great strain on almost all sections of society, and thus, the government should halt the proposed hike.

“The corporation has registered a profit of Rs. 970 crore in the last fiscal, so what is point in going in for such a hike,” he said, while demanding slashing of the domestic rate by Rs. 2 per unit in view of the profit margin.

Randhawa also took strong exception to the manner in which the corporation had gone about imposing heavy fines on farmers, who were caught drawing over and above the prescribed electricity load for their tube wells. The fines slapped on farmers across the state were to the tune of Rs. 700 crore, he claimed.

“A majority of those fined are small and marginal farmers, who are not in position to pay the fines. Our demand is that these fines should be rationalised in such a manner that defaulters are in a position to pay,” he added.

He lambasted the corporation for what he termed “erratic supply of electricity and frequent and unannounced power cuts”. He demanded 24-hour supply to the domestic sector and 16-hour uninterrupted supply to the farm sector in view of the paddy sowing season.

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