Chennai, Nov 17: Tamil Nadu Power Minister Natham R Viswanathan said on Monday that his government would honour the assurance of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa that additional subsidy would be provided to ensure the poor are not affected by the proposed increase in power tariff.
The Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission had on September 23 proposed an across the board tariff increase, including a hike of 15 per cent for domestic consumers, 31 per cent for industries and 15 per cent for commercial users.
Reacting to this, Jayalalithaa had assured that her government would provide additional subsidy to protect the poor. Viswanathan recalled Jayalalithaa's assurance and said "this government which is guided by Amma, will honour that assurance."
Strongly reacting to a BJP general council meet resolution which criticised the government for the proposed tariff hike, he said the saffron party appeared to be unaware of the electricity tariff determination policy of its present and previous regimes at the Centre.
Tracing the legislative history of the Electricity Regulatory Commission Act, he said it was his party which had sought and brought provisioning for subsidy for consumers, to protect the people. Comparing the power tariff in BJP-ruled Chattisgarh and
Madhya Pradesh, he said it was the AIADMK regime that was
providing high subsidy for domestic and farm consumers. "After
AIADMK assumed office in 2011, Rs 11,149 crore has
been provided as subsidy for electricity consumers. Also, for 2014-15 Rs 5,400 crore has been earmarked for subsidy," he said.
The proposed hike in tariff is to bridge a revenue deficit of Rs 6,854 crore of state-run power monolith TANGEDCO (Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd).
Meetings seeking opinions of different stakeholders have been conducted by the regulator.