‘Flat rate’ for electricity scheme: Varanasi weavers fume over ‘heftier’ power bills - Hindustan Times
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‘Flat rate’ for electricity scheme: Varanasi weavers fume over ‘heftier’ power bills

By, Varanasi
May 19, 2023 11:53 PM IST

The Atal Bihari Vajpayee Powerloom Weaver Electricity Flat Rate Scheme, approved by the state cabinet on April 5 this year, is an amended model of a similar 2006 subsidy measure for providing electricity to powerloom weavers.

Powerloom weavers in Varanasi are opposing a relaunched ‘flat rate’ for electricity scheme in the state, alleging that they have to shell out five times more money under the new norms.

Weavers said as per the current scheme weavers with connection of up to 5 kW must pay bills that’d be five times higher than the previous rates, even with subsidy. “ (For representation)
Weavers said as per the current scheme weavers with connection of up to 5 kW must pay bills that’d be five times higher than the previous rates, even with subsidy. “ (For representation)

After recently taking out a protest rally, a group of large number of weavers wrote to chief minister Yogi Adityanath and prime minister Narendra Modi demanding rollback of the revamped scheme. They demanded that they be charged 2- 2.50 per unit for connections of up to 75 kilowatt (kW) as per the previous scheme.

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The Atal Bihari Vajpayee Powerloom Weaver Electricity Flat Rate Scheme, approved by the state cabinet on April 5 this year, is an amended model of a similar 2006 subsidy initiative for providing electricity to powerloom weavers.

Weaver Rameshwar Prasad Gupta said as per the current scheme weavers with connection of up to 5 kW must pay bills that’d be five times higher than the previous rates, even with subsidy. “The weaver who used to pay 143 monthly will have to shell out 860, instead.” Those with above 5 kW connections must pay 30 times more, he added.

Master weaver Rakesh Kumar Patel said the new scheme would force several powerlooms in the state to shut down.

According to assistant commissioner-handloom and textiles Arun Kumar, under the scheme urban weavers with power connection of up to 5kW will have to pay monthly 400 for a 0.5 horsepower (hp) powerloom and 800 for a 1 hp powerloom. Likewise, rural weavers with connection of up to 5kW must pay 300/- for a 0.5 hp powerloom and 600/- for a 1hp powerloom.

“Powerloom connection of over 5kW will be given subsidy at the rate of 700 per horsepower with a maximum monthly subsidy limit of 9100 for each connection,” he added.

According the electricity department, the district has 28,044 powerloom weavers with connection of up to 5 kW; 1,742 others have over 5 KW connection.

Varanasi is home to approximately 3 lakh weavers who are famous for Banarasi sarees and stoles.

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