Power tariff hike: Over 9 lakh MSMEs down shutters across Tamil Nadu
The industries across the state, especially the MSMEs, have been at loggerheads with the state government ever since the latter hiked the electricity tariff last year.
COIMBATORE: Over 9 lakh MSME units across TN downed shutters on Monday and took part in a strike against the state’s electricity tariff hike. With the government idling on MSME’s demands, the industries are gearing up for more protests. These include wearing a black badge and submitting a memorandum to district collectors on October 9 and a hunger strike in Chennai on October 16.
The industries across the state, especially the MSMEs, have been at loggerheads with the state government ever since the latter hiked the electricity tariff last year. Industries have been demanding the government revoke the tariff revision, but no action has been taken so far. The one-day strike was meant to seek the chief minister’s intervention.
Speaking to TNIE, J James, coordinator of the Federation of Coimbatore Industries Associations (FOCIA) and president of the Tamil Nadu Association of Cottage and Micro/Tiny Entrepreneurs (TACT), said the strike has led to a production loss of `9,000 crore and a revenue loss of around `2,500 crore to the government. “This has affected nearly 80 lakh labourers across TN,” he said.
In Coimbatore district alone, around 50,000 MSME units took part in the strike. He said they have decided to go ahead with protests until the government implements their demands. Industrialists will wear a black badge, submit a memorandum to respective district collectors on October 9, and stage a hunger strike in Chennai on October 16.
A senior official from Tangedco, the state power utility, said Chief Minister MK Stalin has ordered officials to adjust MSMEs’ electricity loads without any charges four times a year. Once the power utility gets the official order, it will put this plan into action. But to address other MSME demands, Tangedco needs approval from the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulation Commission.
V Govindappan, vice president of South India Hosiery Manufacturers Association (SIHMA), said, “We are upset with new EB charges. Since the tariff will most affect the small units under MSME, numerous units have claimed these charges are creating financial problems for their business operations during nighttime shifts. In a mark of protest around 7,000 commercial units under various categories - knitting, compacting, bleaching, dyeing, screen printing, and stitching -- have closed their operations for the day in Tiruppur.”
About 60,000 small units in Chennai Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu, Tiruvallur, Ranipet, Vellore and other northern districts joined the strike. Around 1,700 garment units have closed down in the last couple of years due to various problems like cost of power, lack of workers, and fewer orders, said R Ganesan, president of Tamil Nadu Micro and Small Garments Manufacturers Association.
In Madurai, all industries associated with the MADITSSIA (Madurai District Tiny & Small Scale Industries’ Association) staged a hunger strike on Monday at Palanganatham.
(With inputs from Tiruppur, Chennai & Madurai)