Several medium and small industrial units observed a day-long bandh in the state on Thursday to protest against the recent “crippling” hike in power tariff for industries.
Indian Industries Association (IIA), which called the bandh, claimed that a large number of industrial units in cities like Lucknow, Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Moradabad, Rampur and Unnao were closed to protest against the insensitivity of the state government towards micro, small and medium enterprises.
In the state capital, the industrial areas of Amausi, Chinhat, Kursi Road and Sarojini Nagar were closed. A total of 28 industrial organisations supported the bandh.
Prashant Bhatia, chairman of the Lucknow chapter of IIA, said today’s bandh caused a loss of about Rs 2,000 crore to the industries in the form of production and also about Rs 400 crore as revenue to the government.
He said they had not been able to meet Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav despite their best efforts, while the power bills coming after the hike in power tariff announced on October 19 have made several industrial units unsustainable.
He said the state government had increased electricity duty from 9 paise per unit to 7.5 per cent of the total electricity bill and this has increased electricity duty on industries by about 500 per cent.
Bhatia said the government had also increased the demand charges from Rs 115 per kilowatt to Rs 225 per kilowatt for small and medium industries (LMV-6), leading to hike of above 95 per cent. He said the small industries will suffer more because as these units usually get insufficient power supply in many parts of the state.
Bhatia said these small and medium industries were also having to pay Rs 500 per kilowatt as minimum charges along with demand charges, though no other state in the country levies minimum charges along with demand charges on small and medium industries.
G C Chaturvedi, former president of IIA, said that with the 18.4 per cent increase in energy charges, industries were witnessing hike of 35 to 50 per cent in their bills. He demanded that the government withdraw the hike in electricity duty, demand charges and minimum charges.
Chaturvedi demanded that the government ask the UP State Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPSERC) to review the tariff hike and instead of a one-time hike, it should go for smaller hikes at different time intervals.
D S Verma, executive director of IIA, said though the government announced the new tariff on October 19, it was made effective from October 1, which had made it difficult for the industries to recover their increased production cost for this period. He said the tariff should be effective from the date it was announced.
Verma said they were trying to meet the chief minister to apprise him of the difficulties.