Business community demands waiver in fixed charges in electricity bills
While economic activity has resumed, industrial unit owners in Delhi said production had returned to just around 40-50% of capacity so far.Updated: Jul 11, 2020 03:28 IST
As a Delhi government-appointed committee explores avenues for economic reform in the Capital, traders and industrial unit owners’ associations have asked the government to waive fixed charges in electricity bills for the lockdown period.
Arguing that businesses were shut between March 22 and May 17, Sanjay Bhargava, president of the Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal, said “The trading community is already under tremendous pressures due to negligible business, even after markets have been allowed to open. When markets were not open, why should traders be made to pay fixed charges?”
Delhi government spokespersons did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
While economic activity has resumed, industrial unit owners in Delhi said production had returned to just around 40-50% of capacity so far. Several said the government will have to support businesses at least in the current financial year, arguing that demand is unlikely to revive completely over the next few months.
Ashish Garg, secretary of Narela Industrial Complex Welfare association, said, “We have already suffered losses due to the lockdown. The government should waive fixed charges for the last three months because everything was closed. When other states can do it, why can’t Delhi?”
They also said the Centre has given discoms financial assistance for losses incurred during the lockdown.
Rajesh Garg, secretary of the Indian Council for Trade and Industries, who also owns a factory in Narela, said, “The government should support industries and traders for the economy to return to normal. The Centre has provided financial assistance to discoms. When they have got the benefit from the Centre, it should be passed on to consumers as well. As work will take time to pick up, we request the government to charge fixed charges as per actual consumption of electricity.”
The Centre had, in May, announced Rs 90,000 crore liquidity injection into fund-starved discoms as part of a stimulus package to revive the country’s economy.
When contacted, Brijesh Goyal, Aam Aadmi Party’s trade wing convener of the Delhi Unit and a member of the 12-member panel constituted by the government to explore economic reforms, said, “This matter was not discussed in the first meeting of the committee. Actually, we have not got any representation from traders and industrial unit owners demanding waiver in fixed charges in electricity bills. If we get any such request, we will definitely place it before the committee for discussion.”