Taking a cue from the Delhi government's decision of a 50 per cent cut in power tariff, All India Congress Committee secretary and Member of Parliament Sanjay Nirupam on Wednesday demanded that the Maharashtra government should reduce the tariff for power consumption of less than 500 units per month in the city.
In a letter to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, the Mumbai North Lok Sabha Member of Parliament said the power tariff should be substantially reduced for those whose consumption is less than 500 units per month.
He said if the legitimate expectation of the entire middle class and slum population is not met in the immediate future, he will launch an agitation against the government.
Nirupam also demanded that an inquiry be set up to investigate the cost structure and pricing mechanism adopted by power distribution companies.
He said the Delhi government's decision will benefit the middle class and slum dwellers.
"The Delhi government has simultaneously ordered a CAG audit of the power distribution companies but has gone ahead and reduced the tariff even before any audit has commenced. The Regulatory Authority in Delhi was not even consulted, while whenever we raised this issue in Mumbai, the standard reply given was that the matter has been referred to the regulator," he wrote.
"In the past 10 years, the power tariff in Mumbai has increased by around 4 times in all sectors. The possibility that some sort of cartelisation exists cannot be ruled out since the companies supplying power have been increasing the tariff from time to time under one pretext or another. The situation in Mumbai is similar to that of Delhi where the very same power distribution companies supply power," he said.
In the past, whenever the government has responded to the public demand for reduction in power tariff, the benefit of the subsidy announced has accrued only to the power companies, Nirupam said, adding that the subsidy, if any, should be passed on directly to the consumers.