GUWAHATI, Sept 15 � Demanding that the State Government implement the Cabinet decision of March 2008 regarding imposition of power tariff rates on ministers, MLAs and bureaucrats at par with that of the general customers, public activist Prof Deven Dutta said that under no circumstances should the common man be made to bear the burden of enhanced power tariff arising out of the Power Department�s inefficiency and corruption, as also the uncalled-for largesse given to the so-called privileged sections.
Prof Dutta, who made a detailed presentation at the public hearing held by the Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission (AERC) on the power authorities� move to effect a hike in tariff, said that it was precisely due to the power authorities� inaction that they had not been able to realise the accumulated due worth Rs 108 crore from various government departments and agencies which were among the major defaulters.
�The functioning of the ASEB and its successor companies and the corporation has been utterly unprofessional and mired in anomalies. As long as the power authorities cannot put its own house in order, they have no right to burden the consumers with high tariff,� he said.
Prof Dutta also questioned the implementation of the highly subsidised power scheme meant for �poor� people. �The so-called poor people are taking one-point connection and then illegally extending it to 0-12 points by greasing the palms of the officials concerned. These �poor� people also have refrigerators and televisions,� he added.
Prof Dutta severely criticised the student organizations and political parties which have made a habit to raise a hue and cry over every power tariff hike but never bother to make a logical presentation during the AERC-held public hearings.
�Meaningless acts such as burning of effigies, shouting slogans and resorting to road blockades will serve no purpose except subjecting the people to serious inconveniences.
Those opposing hikes in power tariff should learn to do some homework and make strong presentations during public hearing,� he said.
Prof Dutta said it was high time such organizations and parties took up matters of vital public interest in the desired manner, rather than indulging in gimmicks for public consumption.