Chandigarh: Opposition Congress in Punjab on Monday criticised the SAD-BJP led state government for the "exorbitant" 12 per cent hike in power tariff and demanded a rollback.
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President Amarinder Singh said, "It (power tariff hike) is a real power shock to the people of Punjab".
The PCC President said he and his party had consistently been maintaining that the state government was planning to increase power tariff and was only waiting for first the municipal and other local bodies elections and then the Dasuya byelection.
Amarinder asked the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to forego the huge subsidy he is allegedly getting on power for his thousands of acres of agriculture land.
Demanding that the hike must be reversed immediately, the former Chief Minister said, the Power Corporation should instead prevent the losses caused due to the massive pilferage and also in transmission and distribution.
Meanwhile, leader of opposition in Punjab Sunil Jakhar said, "It (power tariff hike) is pre-cursor of impending financial burden SAD BJP is planning to put on helpless and harassed public of Punjab through a bout of fresh taxes on public utilities, residential properties and increase in VAT."
He said the present hike in power tariff, the electricity is now not affordable the industry in Punjab will have no option but to shut down their shops.
He said power utility Punjab State Power Corporation Limited has one of the highest expenses per Mega Watt and no effort is being made to make it efficient.
"Instead of cutting expenses and reducing transmission and distribution losses PSPCL has always taken easier route of passing financial burden on consumers," he said.
Jakhar alleged that out of five new thermal plants, more than 3960 MW to be produced by NTPC and Indiabulls may not see light of day.
PSPCL must be asked to cut on its expenses and reduce its losses. Power theft that is happening with the connivance of officials must be checked, he said.
Punjab Congress will soon launch state wide protest against the SAD BJP government to "extort" money through such measures, he said.