AGP moves rights panel over power crisis



Guwahati: Amid protests against the severe power cuts across the state for over a week, Assam's regional political party Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has sought the intervention of the state human rights commission over the crisis.

A petition submitted to the rights panel by AGP leader and former state minister Jagadish Bhuyan alleged violation of citizens' right to life by the government of Assam, particularly the chief minister, the power minister, the chairman of the Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd. (APDCl), and the food and civil supplies minister.

Various organisations in the state, including students' outfits, have been taking out protest rallies and staging various other symbolic protests across the state in the past one week to pressurise the government to improve the power supply.

These organisations have also been burning effigies of the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) and taking out mock funeral procession of the ASEB.

The petition also mentioned the government's failure to control the skyrocketing prices of LPG cylinders.

"The city is reeling under serious power crisis and small businessmen and entrepreneurs are being forced to close their enterprises, while the students are facing the brunt of the problem," Bhuyan said in the petition.

The petition pointed out that the APDCl is planning to increase power tariff. "In some places, people have to go without power for three consecutive days and this is the sign of progress claimed by the chief minister and other ministers in his cabinet."

Meanwhile, a consumer rights body of the state - Consumer Legal Protection Forum (CLPF) - has demanded that the Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission (AERC) and the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) compensate their customers monetarily in the wake of severe power cuts across the state.

"According to the norm laid down by the rule books of the AERC and the Electricity Act, 2003, the ASEB is liable to pay compensation to consumers against power cuts in peak hours," said Ajoy Hazarika, chief convener of the CLPF.

As per the norms of the AERC, the board is liable to pay a compensation of Rs.5 to Rs.50 per consumer per day based on the hours of power cut.

IANS