Just when the state government is promoting the Jyotigram Yojana to electrify rural Gujarat and help farmers,the Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) has hiked the deposit for new connections for its urban consumers by 300 per cent.
The hiked deposits are part of the new Multi-Year Tariff Regulation (MYTR),effective from January 1,officials at the GUVNL headquarters in Vadodara said.
According to the new tariff,each new electricity connection will cost Rs 3,900 as against the earlier Rs 1,000.
The decision,according to top GUVNL officials,is aimed at removing disparity.
No public opinion on the hike was sought at any forum and it has been cleared by the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission.
The new regulation says that new customers will have to pay a fixed deposit of about Rs 3,200 and,depending on the consumption of electricity,the consumer would either be given the money back or charged extra at the end of the financial year.
While there has been no reaction from other parts of the state,a former MS University student leader and chairperson of Jaago Vadodara Jaago organisation has decided to protest against the decision,which he said will affect slum dwellers to a great extent.
GUVNL officials maintain the decision was taken after considering the financial aspects,and that it would help the new customers to a great extent.
It is true that the new customers will have to pay an amount which will be same for everyone but it is part of the Multi Year Tariff Regulation passed by the GERC which has been implemented from January 1. While it may look like the citizens would have to pay more but if we go by the records furnished by the finance department it would actually help the customers. As per the earlier system,a new customer was suppose to pay the variable amount depending on the feasibility and proximity to the existing set up but now it will be same for everyone, said P H Rana,GUNVL Director Technical.
Rana said,The old customers would continue to pay their bills the way they have been paying till now. It is only the new consumers who would be asked to pay the fixed amount. These calculations were made before implementation of this scheme and it has already been practised by the private power companies. Those consumers who were forced to pay large amount due to distant proximity to the existing set up would be benefiting.
Narendra Ravat,who is leading the Jaago Vadodara Jaago,maintained that the decision would deprive the urban poor from getting the electricity connections.