Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 11:
Former minister Surya Narayan Patro appears to be causing more embarassment to the Odisha government than the entire Opposition in the state Assembly – at least in this session.
Just two days after joining hands with the Opposition in cornering the government on the issue of paddy procurement in Ganjam district, the senior BJD lawmaker today came down heavily on the government on the power tariff issue and advised it to get its act together or face a complete rout like the Congress and the BJP in the Delhi elections.
“The distribution companies showed 40% loss in their accounts to impose a Rs 4300 crore burden on consumers. The move was rejected by the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) and the matter reached the Tribunal. Kalpakkam, the head of the tribunal, accepted the version of the distribution companies and asked OERC to compensate the loss through a hefty tariff hike just a day before his retirement. Congress party got washed away in Delhi due to its favour to Reliance and Tata. The same thing happened to BJP. The state government should become cautious before it is too late and the discoms take the government down,” said Patro.
Patro’s advice came after the sharp criticism of Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra over the tariff issue. Mishra had earlier demanded a CAG audit of the finances of power companies to verify their claims of losses.
Raising a question in the Zero Hour, the LoP questioned the motive of the government in supporting power companies.
“I would like to know if the government will get the power distribution companies audited by CAG. The companies are claiming huge losses and the losses are passed on to the consumers illegally. The amount of loss as per their calculations is not correct. Hence, I would ask the government to stop collecting the money or stop the tariff hike until the CAG report is received. I would specifically like to know if the government is prepared to drive Reliance out of Odisha and take action against it. I hope the government will answer these questions within 48 hours,” said Mishra in his reaction to press.
A steep increase in power tariff in the state seems inevitable with a burden of about Rs 4,200 crore set to be passed on to consumers as per Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (ATE) orders asking the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) to compensate losses sustained by power distribution companies (discoms), as we have reported earlier here (http://odishasuntimes.com/106318/steep-hike-power-tariff-likely-odisha/and http://odishasuntimes.com/?s=power+tariff&x=0&y=0 ).