Tamil Nadu withdraws levy on extra electricity consumption

October 22nd, 2008 - 3:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Oct 22 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu government Wednesday withdrew, within 48 hours of its announcement, a controversial order levying 50 percent extra fees on households consuming over 600 units of electricity during every bi-monthly billing cycle, an official statement said.”Though the measure (to levy extra charges) was aimed at rationalising the equitable distribution of power to over 13 million consumers in the state due to the unusual electricity shortfall this year, following representations from the opposition, the move was given up,” the official statement said.

The government announced power cuts lasting four hours in cities for households, about eight hours in rural areas and industrial hubs. It prohibited the use of power supply by industrial consumers between 6 - 10 p.m. to facilitate uninterrupted supply to households, said the orders issued Monday.

While farmers were assured of power for six hours every day to work their water pump sets to irrigate fields, the government warned commercial and political organisations from drawing power for “ostentatious propaganda events”.

Leader of Opposition J. Jayalalitha, the Left, Pattali Makkal Katchi founder S. Ramadoss and actors-turned politicians Vijaykanth and Sarath Kumar had slammed the move saying it would bring industrial production to a grinding halt and cause untold misery to households.

“This government is using the alibi of power shortage in the state to augment the income of the badly managed, loss-making electricity board,” Jayalalitha had said in a hard-hitting statement Tuesday.

Other opposition parties had issued similar statements.

Meanwhile, a day-long shutdown organised Wednesday by various associations of small scale industries protesting against the crippling power shortfall is underway.

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