Efforts to financially strengthen electricity distribution companies received a setback as the government reversed the decision to raise electricity tariff on agricultural connections. The decision has arrived just before the state government is to present its budget in the assembly. The populist move is estimated to burden the government with Rs.500 crore.
"On the feedback of party workers and representatives we have decided to withdraw the rise in charges, those to have submitted bills will be adjusted the excess amount in future bills," Energy Minister Pushpendra Singh briefed the media over the government decision.
The issue of electricity charges impacts nearly 11 lakh farmers in the state, many of these have denied to deposit electricity bills in protest and threaten to besiege the assembly. Forced to revoke the decision, the ruling party was seen patting its back on the change in circumstances.
"The government is sensitive towards the need of farmers and thus have decided to extend them benifit," state BJP president Ashok Parnami.
Meanwhile, the electricity companies do not see a financial respite soon. The companies are already under a financial burden of over Rs.70,000 crore and the attempts to raise revenue face protest at all levels. The opposition has blamed the state government for the poor state of electricity companies.