Hiking electricity tariffs despite longer power cuts unjustified: Tarigami
Expressing serious concern over the precarious power situation, CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami Sunday said the electricity woes continue unabated in Kashmir while the electricity tariffs have been hiked arbitrarily by the government.
Power cuts inevitably grow longer every winter since the power deficiency in J&K doesn’t seem to improve. With the onset of winter, the unscheduled and prolonged power cuts become an unwritten rule, not only in non-metered areas, but metered as well.
No power schedule is being followed on ground and even metered areas are facing long and unscheduled power cuts much to the annoyance of the public. People living in rural and far flung areas most of the time remain without electricity and are compelled to arrange for alternate sources of illumination since they are facing the worst power crisis. Even in cities and towns, people had to face low voltage and erratic power supply. Students appearing for different exams are the worst hit by the power crisis in Kashmir.
Power authorities have hiked electricity tariff in a unilateral decision when the government has even failed to provide regular supply to consumers. The Department has no cogent and valid justification in hiking the power tariff.
CPI (M) also opposes the plans of the government to privatize the power sector in Jammu and Kashmir as this sector is important for industrial growth and for eradicating unemployment. If the government moves ahead with any plan of privatization, not only the employees of the PDD, but consumers too will have to bear the brunt. The decision will hit consumers and traders hard as private players will increase tariff as per their own choice. Jammu and Kashmir is a poor state and the consumers will not be able to afford the increased tariff.
Time and again it has been pointed out by engineers in the rest of the country as to how the experiments of privatization and franchisee systems in power distribution have failed in several states. At the time of converting the PDD into power distribution companies, the government had claimed the decision was taken for the improvement of the power sector. But now they are going for privatization which is only being done to hand over the assets to big companies free of cost.
Privatization of electricity is no way for power sector reforms, rather it will impact adversely upon poor domestic consumers, medium and small industries and poor farmers. At a time when the economy is in a tailspin and the country is fighting the Covid19 pandemic, such proposals that will favour the wealthy while burdening the needy, are totally unacceptable.(KNS)