Protests rock AP over power tariff hike

Monday, 01 April 2013 09:19 Suresh Kumar MG

Protests in AP against Power tariff hikeAndhra Pradesh is reeling under power cuts. As if that was not enough, the government has proposed a hike in tariff to net Rs 13,000 crore in 2013-14 besides mopping up another Rs 12,000 crore in the form of fuel surcharge adjustment (FSA). It has been enough for the Opposition parties in the state to take up the "power struggle" in the run up to general elections in May, 2014.

The CPI and CPI(M) along with eight other Left parties first took to the streets on the issue. They launched an indefinite fast at Indira Park last week, which was foiled by the police after four days. "We will not rest till the government withdraws its proposal to hike power tariff. The FSA amount should be borne by the government," demanded CPI(M) state secretary B V Rahagavulu.

The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) too extended its support to the Left cause. "We will take support from YSRCP, but that does not mean that we will forge an electoral alliance with the YSRCP in the next elections," said CPI state secretary K Narayana. He hinted that CPI would sail with the Telugu Desam Party in the next elections.

The day the four-day Left's indefinite fast was foiled by the police, TDP MLAs began their indefinite fast. Several MLAs fell sick after three days of fast, which was launched on the premises of old MLA quarters.

Meanwhile, the Left parties have called for a state-bandh on April 9. The TDP too has extended its support to the proposed bandh. On the other hand, the YSRCP too took up some agitational programmes and has decided to participate in the state bandh.

On the face of it, it seems that all the Opposition parties are united on power tariff. But, when it comes to real politics, the YSRCP blames both the TDP and the present Congress government for the power crisis. "Naidu is responsible for killing of three persons in 2000. He should give an explanation for it," demanded YSRCP MLAs.

However, the TDP blames Y S Rajasekhara Reddy for the collapse of power sector in the state. "Rajasekhara Reddy is responsible for the present crisis. For the sake of commissions, Reddy encouraged private players in the power sector. He mismanaged the power utility. The TDP streamlined the sector and augmented the installed capacity of power generation," alleged TDP MLA Payyavula Keshav.

However, the ruling Congress claimed that not a single acre of crop will be allowed to dry up due to shortage of power. "The past chief ministers are responsible for the present power crisis. Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy is streamlining the sector effectively," claimed T Jayaprakash Reddy, Congress MLA and a known loyalist of the Chief Minister.

Notwithstanding the agitations, the power tariff in the state would be increased from April 1. Though the discoms proposed a burden of around Rs 13,000 crore, the AP Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) may allow the discoms to collect an additional amount of around Rs 9,000 crore from the public in 2013-14.

Source- New Indian Express