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Home News Power Sector News Bihar industrial shut down continues in protest against fuel surcharge hike wef from 2008

Bihar industrial shut down continues in protest against fuel surcharge hike wef from 2008

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BSEBThe shutdown of a majority of industrial units in Bihar since August 31 to protest the imposition of fuel surcharge on them with a retrospective effect from October 2008 has been causing concern to workers as they fear losing their jobs if the shutdown continues. A coordination committee on electricity matters (fuel surcharge), comprising representatives of the Bihar Chamber of Commerce (BCC), Bihar Industries Association (BIA), Pataliputra Industrial Area, Fatuha Industrial Area and other commercial organisations, has decided to oppose the fuel surcharge tooth and nail.

BCC president P K Agarwal on Sunday said that the imposition of fuel surcharge by the Bihar State Electricity Board (BSEB) with a retrospective effect was a severe jolt to the industries. He said that 70-80% of the industrial units are closed since August 31 as it was impossible for the owners to pay the entire bill.

He said the state is witnessing a positive environment and industry and trade are developing fast. Investments are pouring in the state while a wave of vigour and zeal is flowing among the entrepreneurs. Even the state government has taken several steps to promote industrial and economic growth, he said.

Agarwal said that the imposition of fuel surcharge issue with a retrospective effect would hit the industries hard and it would be nearly impossible for the owners to run their units. Besides, it would also sour relations between the workers and owners as the owners cannot go on paying the salary if production remains stopped in their industrial units, he pointed out.

Former BIA president K P Jhunjhunwala said that the fuel surcharge, totalling approximately Rs 384 crore, was the result of BSEB's inefficiency. The BSEB should not transfer its burden to consumers, he said. Such a huge levy is an extremely huge burden on any commercial venture and this is the reason why most of the industries have shut down, he pointed out and added that about 50,000 workers might become jobless if the industrial units remain non-operational for long.

Both Agarwal and Jhunjhunwala urged the state government to take the matter seriously. If this burden is not removed, the industries would face permanent closure, which, in turn, would disrupt the state's economy, they pointed out. The said the industries would be forced to lay off workers if the BSEB does not reverse its decision.

Source- Times of India


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