February 19, 2017 4:40:01 am
Days ahead of a scheduled massive protest by farmers’ groups, the Rajasthan government on Saturday announced a rollback of the 25 paise hike in power tariff for farmers. The burden of rolling back the hike, announced last September by the electricity regulatory commission, comes up to around Rs 500 crore and would be borne by the state exchequer in the form of subsidy to the DISCOMs.
With Saturday’s rollback, farmers will continue to get electricity at 90 paise per unit, with a flat rate of 85 paise per horsepower for unmetered connections. The government also ‘assured’ farmers of relaxed vigilance checks, if their meters ran fine. The Vigilance Check Reports have been another issue raised by the farmers, with the opposition Congress calling it a ‘terrorising tactic’.
Farmer groups, led by the CPI-M-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha, had called for a march towards the state assembly and its ghearo on March 2, during the budget session. With the state assembly elections scheduled for next year, the issue had assumed significance for the ruling as well as the opposition parties. The opposition Congress claimed credit by saying that it had mounted pressure on the government that led to the announcement of the rollback, while the ruling BJP hailed Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for the “historic decision”.
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