Power play: Nirupam ends fast, but vows more in future
However, even after calling off the fast, an undaunted Sanjay Nirupam said that he would continue to stage agitations against the Maharashtra discom Reliance Energy until the Anil Ambani-owned power behemoth stops ‘exploitation’ of Mumbai’s aam aadmis.
Nirupam’s decision came after a cornered CM Chavan ‘assured’ the Congress leader that his demand would be considered while adding that a decision on the matter would be taken in the next two days.
Chavan said, ‘We are also examining the possibility of looking into the books of accounts of the private power DISCOMs. We need to check if surcharge is being charged beyond the period it was supposed to be charged for. We are engaging regulator MERC (Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission) and Maharashtra government is considering being an ‘intervenor’ in the dispute between Reliance and TATA.’
Egged on by Arvind Kejriwal’s successful turnaround of Delhi’s power situation, bringing in government subsidies and halving tariff until 400 units for domestic consumption, Nirupam had begun his indefinite hunger strike in front of Reliance Energy Divisional Office in Mumbai. He took this step after the Maharashtra government announced a reduction in power tariff in the rest of the state, but excluded Mumbai from the legislation’s ambit.
Nirupam had asked Reliance Energy, which supplies power in the city, to withdraw three current surcharges, alleging that Reliance and MERC were hand-in-glove in instituting the escalated prices and demanding a probe in the matter.
Even though the Congress’s ally in the state, the NCP is not in favour of the government subsidising the power companies, Nirupam had said, ‘If decision to provide subsidy is not taken by the government, I will launch an agitation. If Delhi government can reduce the power tariff, then why can’t it be done in Mumbai.’
The Congress leader had also called for investigation into cartelisation by private power companies to know whether the current electricity prices were justified. ‘Both Tata and Reliance have got into cartelisation of power in Mumbai,’ he claimed.