Odisha govt will urge OERC to reconsider power tariff hike

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Bhubaneswar, Mar 31 (PTI) Faced with stiff opposition from the BJP and the Congress, the Odisha government Wednesday said it will urge the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) to reconsider the hike of 30 paise per unit in energy charges.

Energy Minister D S Mishra said this in the assembly after an all-party meeting was held following a ruckus by opposition members in the House demanding an immediate rollback of the power tariff.

The opposition had termed the hike as a burden on people in a pandemic situation.

Speaker S N Patro was forced to convene the all-party meet following frequent adjournments over the issue.

The OERC recently approved a minimal rise of 30 paise per unit of electricity for the financial year 2021-22.

The new tariff would come into force from April 4, 2021, the OERC notification said.

However, there was no hike for people belonging to BPL families and power used for irrigation purpose.

After the ministers statement, normalcy returned to the House which started discussion on the Appropriation Bill.

The OERC has hiked 30 paise per unit at the behest of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. When common people are finding it difficult to meet both ends due to the economic impact of the pandemic, the power tariff hike is unfortunate and will further burden the consumers,' Congress whip Taraprasad Bahinipati said.

BJP MLA and Opposition Chief Whip Mohan Majhi pointed out that this is for the second time that power tariff has been enhanced during COVID-19 pandemic.

While the OERC had raised 20 paise per unit in October last year, it has been increased again, he said.

The BJP demands immediate rollback of power tariff, Majhi said.

However, senior BJD MLA and former minister Amar Prasad Satpathy blamed the opposition members for stalling proceedings of the House.

He said, the state government has no role in the hike of power tariff as it is decided by the OERC, a quasi-judicial body.

The BJP had staged a demonstration in front of the OERC office on Tuesday demanding roll back of the tariff revision. PTI AAM MM MM