Chandigarh: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today condemned the Congress government for increasing electricity duty by fifteen per cent with the latest increase of two per cent effected by the cabinet two days back.
In a statement here, former minister and SAD spokesman Maheshinder Singh Grewal also condemned the surreptitious manner in which the increase had been affected, saying this would put an additional Rs 150 crore burden on power consumers. He said it was the responsibility of finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal to impose new taxes in the State budget which was being presented shortly. “Instead of doing this a new tax has been introduced through the backdoor without any announcement”, he added.
Grewal said the SAD would take up this issue in the forthcoming budget session and also ask why action should not be taken against Mr Manpreet Badal for this arbitrary increase. “New taxes can be imposed only after due discussion in the State budget”, he added.
The Akali leader said earlier also the Congress government had increased electricity duty besides making a ten to twelve per cent increase in power tariff with retrospective effect from April 2017. “Domestic consumers are now also being levied fixed charges for electricity consumption whether they consume power or not. This was never done earlier and has added to the burden of the people who are already reeling under spate of unfulfilled promises of the Congress government”.
The former minister said this was not all. “The Congress government has withdrawn the 200 unit free supply to backward class community. “Scheduled Caste consumers are also being harassed and forced to pay astronomical bills ever since the Congress government took over the reins of the State. A plan has been made to do away with the free power facility given to farmers for agriculture tubewells by S Parkash Singh Badal with electricity meters being installed on various grids”.
Grewal said the SAD would take up this issue vociferously in the Vidhan Sabha and compel the government to reduce both the power hike, electricity duty as well as fixed charges being imposed on domestic consumers besides restoration of free units to backward class consumers.