Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badals statement that the average 9 per cent power tariff hike was nominal,seems to have not gone down well with consumers. A few days after the tariff hike announcement,consumers have begun to receive shockers one after the other from all sides in terms of hike in rates of various commodities. The industry has decided to lodge its protest by wearing black badges from Thursday and by displaying black flags outside their units.
More than 55 industrial and trade associations met on Wednesday and formed the All Industries and Trade Forum. Forum convenor Gurmeet Singh Kular stated that they would meet the elected representatives with their demands regarding property tax,power hike and delay in VAT refunds.
Meanwhile,consumers will have to pay 10 per cent extra if they want to eat out at restaurants or stay at hotels in Punjab. People will also have to shell out more to purchase fruits and vegetables from cold stores. Automotive parts,agricultural implements,bicycles,fastener items and garments are also said to get costlier,as the industrialists claim that raw material prices had already shot up the day tariff was hiked.
Power tariff hike is directly proportional to rising inflation in the market. Property tax is in the offing while the department has blocked VAT refund worth crores,and still the CM has termed it as a nominal hike, Kular said.
Harinder Kukerja,owner of Hot Breads and Yellow Chillies restaurant said: The hike will soon be effected and consumers will have to bear the brunt,because we cannot pay from own pockets. We burn diesel during the long power cuts,as in our service industry,we cannot survive without power.
Expressing the views of the garment industry,Vinod Thaper,chairman of Knitwear club said,Garment prices will go up by 10%. Due to labour shortage,power is our basic raw material now,as automation is the only solution.
Average hike in a bicycle would range between Rs 70 and 100,because steel prices have already gone up by Rs 1,500 per tonne,said Kular. Gurpargat Singh Kahlon,president of Auto Parts Manufacturers Association (India),and Ranjodh Singh,general secretary,said,We have no choice,but to hike the prices of auto parts and agricultural implements by about 3%. This is a nominal hike.