Sobhandeb questions Centre’s power price policy
In the sideline of a felicitation programme at Bidyut Bhawan on Saturday, the minister, said: “I had recently attended state power ministers’ conference in Goa, where the CERC categorically asked for hiking the power price, otherwise bank loans and supply of coal to the state government would be stopped.”
“They (CERC) have created immense pressure on us. They also want us to follow their direction over power price in West Bengal,” said the minister adding his department is discussing the matter with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. No decision has yet been made.
“Our Chief Minister had a tremendous effort to curb the electricity price for last few years despite centre’s unusual pressure tactics. She never let the common people to face increasing cost of power. It is only her credit,” said Chatterjee.
In this context, Centre has raised the relating tax, so that every state would have to hike the power fee. Power department officials believe the cost of the power per unit can be increased by 30 paisa in the areas of West Bengal Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBEDCL) if state government would abide by CERC’s proposal. The existing power price of these areas is Rs 6.55 per unit.
“The coal price, related taxes has been increased. The production cost of the power has been raised too. Earlier the coal cess was Rs 50 per ton. It has now claimed up to Rs 400 per ton. The service tax on coal price was 10.33 per cent in financial year 2011-12. Now it has pegged up to 15 per cent.
Though CERC has given the nod to increase the coal price, they are not the decision making authority in the state,” a power department official said.