Power hike: Jaya announces subsidies



Chennai: Under attack from political parties for the steep hike in power tariff, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Tuesday announced subsidising part of the increase for domestic consumers.

Making a suo motu statement in the state Assembly, Jayalalithaa said the present move will benefit 1.5 crore families and announced an additional subsidy of Rs 740 crore to the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board taking the total subsidy allocation for the department this year to Rs 4294.16 crore.

She said domestic consumers consuming 100 units for two months will have to pay Rs one per unit as against Rs 1.10 announced in the revision last week.

"Domestic consumers consuming upto 200 units for two months will need to pay Rs 1.50 as against Rs 1.80" announced by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission last week.

Similarly, domestic consumers using between 201 to 500 units will have to pay Rs two against Rs three for first 200 units and Rs three against Rs 3.50 from 201 to 500 units.

Jayalalithaa's announcement was welcomed by ruling benches amid thumping of desks even as opposition DMDK, DMK earlier staged a walkout after Speaker D Jayakumar denied permission to discuss the issue.

The government move was necessitated following public demand for a rollback of power tariff hike though the state government did not have the powers to withdraw the revision as it was announced by TNERC involving the public in the consultation process prior to the hike, she said.

Jayalalithaa maintained that financial mismanagement in the previous DMK regime had pushed the TNEB into a debt trap and this government was already taking steps to set right both the financial health of the department and implement more power generation projects.

The TNERC had announced a 37 per cent hike in the power tariff to fetch an additional Rs 7,874 crore and bail out the electricity board which is in the red.

PTI