Weavers protest against power tariff hike in Meerut, take out march

ByS Raju, Meerut
Jun 05, 2023 07:36 PM IST

Weavers in Uttar Pradesh protest against increased power tariffs which they say will affect trade and millions of workers. They marched to the district magistrate's office and handed over a memorandum of demands, threatening to march to Delhi if they are not resolved. The state government has raised tariffs for small machines to INR400 ($5.30) per month from INR65, and for larger machines to INR800 per month from INR130. The weavers say the new policy will ruin the trade and leave them on the brink of starvation.

Thousands of weavers took out a rally under the aegis of Bunkar Association to protest the increase in power tariff here on Monday.

Weavers taking out protest march in Meerut on Monday. (HT Photo)
Weavers taking out protest march in Meerut on Monday. (HT Photo)

The weavers gathered at the Golakuan area and after covering around 5 kilometres on foot in scorching heat, they reached the office of the district magistrate and handed over a memorandum of their demands.

Association leaders said that the decision of the state government would affect the trade and millions of weavers. They said that weavers would resort to march towards Delhi if their demands were not resolved.

The weavers also carried placards with slogans like “Bunkaro ka utpeedan band karo (stop exploiting weavers), and “bunkar barbadi ki or (weavers on the verge of destruction)”.

Meanwhile, treasurer of the Association and Samajwadi Party MLA Rafeeq Ansari said that during the regime of former chief minister Late Mulayam Singh Yadav, the government had fixed a flat rate of 65 and 130 per month for small (.5 HP) and big power looms (1 HP). Besides, weavers were given the facility to use power up to 150 KW which helped them install multiple machines through one connection, he said.

Ansari said that now the state government has raised tariff for small machines to 400 per month from 65 and for big machines, the tariff has been raised to 800 per month from 130 per month. They have also been restricted from using maximum KW on one connection, he alleged.

Expressing concern over the plight of millions of weavers across the state, he said, “This new policy which has been implemented since March will ruin the entire trade and weavers would be on the brink of starvation because they can’t afford such high tariff rates.”

He further said millions of weavers in Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Faizabad, Maunath Bhanjanpur, Barabanki, Moradabad, Bijnor and Meerut earn their livelihood by weaving clothes.

In Meerut alone, power looms have over 7 thousand connections and more than 1 lakh machines are operational. “More than 4 to 5 lakh people are directly or indirectly associated with this trade here,” said Rafeeq who also marched with protesters.

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