Reduce essential service cost, unburden the poor: Swaraj India

Members of Swaraj India demand that BESCOM reduce its electricity charges as previously directed by the Karnataka government.

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A delegation of Swaraj India Leaders and a High Court advocate sought a waiver of electricity charges for low income group domestic users and small businesses in a letter to Karnataka Chief Minister H. D. Kumaraswamy on September 3, 2020.

Working President Veera Shanghaiyah of Karnatak Rajya Raithu Sagha (KRRS) High Court Advocate Jayalakshmi and members of Swaraj India requested the Chief Minister to waive off the electricity bills for April, May and June of low-income groups and small-scale commercial users in the light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Similarly, they asked that payment timelines as well as the hike in power tariff of 13 percent be delayed until a later date while ensuring steady electric supply in the intermediary period.

The letter reminded that the State government had previously waived off fixed electricity charges for the benefit of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). However, the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM) seemed to have disregarded the notification and deferred fixed charges resulting in confusion.

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission had waived off fixed waiver power and water bills for all establishments due to the coronavirus pandemic while the Punjab government had waived off fixed charges of industrial consumers for two months.

Thus, considering the massive layoffs and job losses sparked by the pandemic, the leaders asked that delay its efforts to recover the revenue deficit of Rs. 5,872 crores until the situation improves.

One of the leaders also mentioned that people are forced to loan money and sell their belongings to clear bills while struggling to survive at the same time.

“The only way to survive the crisis is by drastically reducing costs of essential services such as electricity in the immediate term,” said the letter.

The leaders warned in a separate statement that if the government fails to waive off the electricity bills, they will be compelled to stage a Satyagraha in lines with Gandhi Dandi march.


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