Punjab power tariff hike a final blow to dying industry: Jaiveer Shergill
Chandigarh, March 30
In what is likely to “spell doom” for the already struggling Punjab industry, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has taken a “disastrous” decision by increasing the power tariff for medium and large industrial consumers from Rs 5 to Rs 5.50. Expresessing extreme dismay over this anti-Industry decision BJP’s National Spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill, said that a circular issued by PSPCL reads that the power will be provided at the rate of Rs 5.5 per kilo volt ampere-hour (kvah) for five years with an annual increase of 3 per cent for medium and large industrial units. He further said that as per media reports practically, the total hike will be actually 60 paise per unit in wake of the fact that 20 per cent taxes are also levied on the power bills, which will put an additional burden of more than a “whopping” Rs 2,000 crore per annum on the industry.
Asserting that the “anti-industry” decision has been implemented by the PSPCL on the instructions of Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government because the state coffers are empty, Shergill told that during deliberations with renowned industrialists of the state, particularly those from the industrial hub of Ludhiana, he came to know about a shocking fact that existing Punjab industry has been left out from the incentives offered to the new investors in the Punjab Industrial and Business Development Policy-2022. “The top industrialists told me that the new industrial units coming in the state would be charged Rs 5 per unit of power and they have also been given 13 per cent relief in the excise duty, which existing industry has been deprived of these incentives. In such circumstances, how can the existing industry in the state survive”, he questioned.
Pointing out that the said decision has sent “shock waves” among the entire Punjab industry, Shergill while terming the said decision as highly condemnable said, “The present government is actually playing the bluff that they are charging Rs 5 (now Rs 5.5) per unit power consumption but in reality, if the fixed charges etc are also clubbed with consumption charges, then the industry is paying almost Rs 7 to Rs 12 per unit of power, as told by top industrialists as well. It is really unfortunate that within one year of coming to power, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had completely forgotten its pre-poll assurance to the industry of providing power at cost of 5 Rs per unit and more shameful is the fact that the government has started increasing the power consumption charges.”
Shergill termed the electricity tariff hike as a “betrayal” by the AAP government, while adding that independent inquiries conducted by him from the industrial sector brought to light that almost 45 per cent of the total revenue of power bills is generated by furnaces and henceforth they will be the most affected with this decision.
It is pertinent to mention here that state of affairs under AAP regime have been so “worrisome” that feeling unsafe to run their industry because of the “grim law and order” situation in the state, a group of top industrialists from Ludhiana had recently met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expressing their desire to invest in UP. “Now, the power tariff hike and the new industrial policy have further irked the industrialists, thereby giving more weight to changes of industry migrating from Punjab”, he added.
Meanwhile, Shergill said that most of the existing industrialists and the furnace owners said that in case the government does not amend the Punjab Industrial and Business Development Policy-2022 and provides a level playing field besides roll back the power tariff hike, the existing industry will gradually shut down. BJP Spokesperson demanded that the AAP Government must accept all the demands of the industry unconditionally without any delay.