Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam begins hunger strike demanding power tariff cut in Mumbai

Jan 23, 2014, 22:18 IST | PTI

Mumbai: AICC secretary Sanjay Nirupam began an indefinite hunger strike on Thursday outside the Reliance Energy divisional office at Kandivali in north Mumbai.

Mumbai was excluded from the 20 per cent cut in power tariff charged to domestic consumers, industries and power looms by the state-run Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MahaVitaran), he lamented while addressing his supporters.

The Lok Sabha MP from Mumbai North said he would continue his agitation till the demand was met.

Sanjay NirupamCongress MP Sanjay Nirupam (centre) on hunger strike in Kandivali on Thursday. Pic/Nimesh Dave

The Cabinet had last week decided that the concession of cut in power tariff by 20 per cent would be applicable to consumers with consumption of less than 300 units.

The cut in power tariff will not be applicable in Mumbai where there are players other than MahaVitaran supply power. Mumbai consumers get power supply from Tata Power, Reliance Infrastructure and BrihanMumbai Electric Supply and Transport undertaking, the government had said.

Flaying the opposition BJP for alleging that the decision by the Maharashtra government to reduce 20 per cent power tariff charged to domestic consumers, industries and powerlooms was taken ahead of the ensuing Lok Sabha polls, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had said the government has fulfilled its assurance given in November last year.

He said the state government had on November 19 last year assured to fulfill the promise to reduce power tariff by 20 per cent. He had said the state government will have to bear an additional burden of Rs 7,200 crore on the state exchequer.

Nirupam, who along with party's Lok Sabha member Priya Dutt had been "protesting" and demanding reduction of electricity bills for power consumers especially in Mumbai.

Nirupam had also written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan demanding a power tariff cut, reasoning that if the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi could do so, why could it not be replicated in Mumbai and Maharashtra. Their party, the Congress, leads the coalition government in Maharashtra.

Meanwhile, NCP spokesman Nawab Malik termed Nirupam's hunger strike as a "misplaced" one.

Malik said the government, which lowered power tariffs in the state but Mumbai by 20 per cent, has already announced that the issue of electricity charges regarding Mumbai will be taken up in the next cabinet meeting.

"It is not Reliance Energy, the power company which supplies electricity to Mumbai suburbs, but the MERC and the state government which will take the decision. Hence, even though Nirupam's intentions are genuine, the place of agitation is wrong," Malik said.

On Shiv Sena's demand to slash the power tariff by 50 per cent, Malik retorted saying the saffron party which controls the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) should first reduce the tariff of Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply Transport (BEST) which supplies electricity in the island city of Mumbai.

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