Akhilesh drags feet on UP power tariff hike as polls loom
Barely a fortnight after agreeing to reform the state’s power sector to secure a financial package from the Centre, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav seems to have got political jitters, much like his predecessor Mayawati who deferred tariff hikes fearing an electoral setback.
When the UP Power Corporation proposal to raise tariffs by 15-20% for domestic consumers came up for discussion, Yadav’s officials informed him about its political impact. Instead of clearing the proposal, Yadav — who has already given an in-principle approval to reforms — asked chief secretary Jawed Usmani and other officials to study its political implications first. The proposal will go to the state electricity regulator only after the chief minister’s clearance.
Mayawati did not allow tariff hikes in the last two years of her tenure to prevent a potential setback in the 2012 elections. Now, with general elections slated for 2014, the incumbents in Lucknow seem to follow the same no-hike philosophy. It’s another matter that Mayawati could not retain power despite the populism.
The hikes, if implemented, will affect approximately 65 lakh domestic consumers out of the state’s 1.3 crore consumers. These consumers have been exempt from any tariff hike for the last three years. (No hike is proposed for industries, who faced hikes up to 40% last year.)
States which want to avail of the central debt recast package must raise tariffs every year to bridge the gap between input
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