Pointing that the power tariff hike for domestic consumers ranges between 49% to 68% and the commercial customers face a hike in the range of 16% to 40%, K Parthasarathy, secretary of Association of Small Industries of the Union Territory of Pondicherry (ASIUTOP), said the power charges hike by the Electricity Department has come as a blow to all categories of consumers across the board.
With the industrial activity in Puducherry dwindling steadily, the power tariff hike is bound to have a telling effect. He attributed industrialisation in this ‘backward territory’ primarily to three factors - time-bound exemption and concessional tariff of sales tax, conducive labour relations, lower power tariff.
“There were periodical doses of other concessions like capital investment subsidy, income tax exemption etc, which have all been withdrawn prior to 2000,” he said that out of the three advantages for industries listed above, the uniform rates brought in during 2000 and subsequent VAT regime have virtually sealed the benefit of sales tax concessions.
Parthasarathy further said: The second aspect of smooth labour relations also has seen the last days in the past few years due to militancy of several new political outfits that started playing non-traditional trade unionism, due to which several industries have either closed down or shifted to other states. Now, even the sole consoling benefit of lower power tariff is also given the go-by, he added.
The ASIUTOP leader said the All India Industrial Survey conducted by the Union government in 2006-07 has supplied ample proof to the dwindling industrial activity in the UT. “While the industry departments’ record claims existence of nearly 10,000 registered industries, the survey shows a record of only 1,451 units as existing ones.”