‘Power hike just a way of telling industry to move out of Punjab’

Hike in power tariff and that too from April 1 has not gone down well industrialists in Punjab.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana | Published: July 17, 2012 3:23:52 am

Hike in power tariff and that too from April 1 has not gone down well industrialists in Punjab. Apart from the 58 paise per unit hike for medium and large industry,the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission has also imposed a 10-paise levy on continuous process industry from November 1. Continuous process industry usually comprises largescale units,which have more than 100 KW of sanctioned load.

According to industrialists,while they are already paying Rs 1.8 per KW per hour extra to Punjab State Power Corporation Limited for continuous supply units,now they will have to shell out more. Gurmeet Singh Kular,president of United Cycles Parts and Manufacturers,said: “Though in the tariff order,minimum monthly charges (MMC) has also been hiked by 12 per cent for all industrial consumers,the power bills that we received today show Rs 195 per KW as against Rs 162 per KW of the previous bill. This is a direct hike of about 20 per cent in MMC only and now,more has also been levied on continuous units.”

“The industry will have to pay Rs 830 crore extra after the hike and cross subsidy has also been imposed on direct access. While neighbouring states are giving incentives to industry,this way we are repeatedly being told to move out,” said Badish Jindal,president of Federation of Tiny and Small Industries Association.

When contacted,North India Furnace Association president K K Garg claimed that there is going to be a hike of Rs 500 per tonne across the board in iron and steel items and it will be passed on to consumers from Tuesday. “The extra levy of 10 paise per unit on continuous supply chains is not justified. Hundreds of units,specially steel and furnace units,have taken such facilities in Ludhiana and Mandi Gobindgarh. Above all,even after imposing high tariff rate,often restrictions are imposed on the usage of power. So,first we need to get power before imposing any tariff hike,Garg said,adding that the hike should be applicable from the date of announcement and not from April 1.

According to industry representatives,rising input cost caused by increase in electricity charges and land cost will force the industry to expand in states like Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh where the cost of production is much lower than here. “The hike in power tariff will certainly put the local textile industry into a disadvantageous position vis-a-vis other states like Madhya Pradesh,as our industry will become even less competitive now,” Textile major SEL Manufacturing’s Executive Director V K Goyal said. “There is already a slowdown phase and now increase in power rates will prove to be double blow to the textile industry,” T-shirt maker Duke Group’s Chairman Komal Jain said.

Upkar Singh,Joint Secretary of Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings said: “The ruling alliance is giving us shock after shock. The extra charges for continuous supply chains is not welcome. The suggestions sent by the industry have not been considered.”

The PHD Chamber also stated that while industry in Punjab was already passing through a tough phase,the power tariff hike will further burden the power-intensive industry. “The Commission has not given any relief in the cross subsidisation in the tariff to the industry and bulk consumers,” it stated.

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