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Power tariff hiked in Himachal
Shimla, July 2
The state electricity regulatory commission today ordered a steep hike in the electricity tariff ranging from 13 to 34 per cent for various categories of consumers to fetch an additional revenue of Rs 168 crore to the state electricity board annually.

Donít assign Rampur project to nigam: Dhumal
Shimla, July 2
Mr P.K. Dhumal, former Chief Minister, today opposed the decision of the government to assign the 440 MW Rampur project to the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam.

Move to freeze reservation in panchayats
Shimla, July 2
The state government is proposing to bring about a legislative amendment which will freeze the rotation of reservation in panchayats for 10 years instead of the present duration of five years.

Panchayats reluctant to tax people: minister
Shimla, July 2
The reluctance of elected representatives to raise money through taxes and lesser peopleís participation are two of the several factors which are preventing the 3030 gram panchayats in the state from becoming independent units of self governance. The Rural Development Minister, Mr Sat Mahajan, said this while releasing a report on the finances of the gram panchayats here today.





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Power tariff hiked in Himachal
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 2
The state electricity regulatory commission today ordered a steep hike in the electricity tariff ranging from 13 to 34 per cent for various categories of consumers to fetch an additional revenue of Rs 168 crore to the state electricity board annually. But nearly 13.50 lakh domestic consumers will not be affected with the government agreeing to grant requisite subsidy to maintain the existing rates of domestic tariff.

However, the commission burdened the domestic consumers, except those families covered under Antyodaya scheme with a service charge of Rs 11 per month as part of its effort to rationalise the domestic tariff. It also imposed a 3 per cent stabilisation charge on the total amount of the bill (excluding electricity duty and taxes) on all categories of consumers to enable the board to recover at least a part of the increased costs incurred by it over the last two years.

The maximum hike of 38.04 per cent has been approved for the non-domestic non-commercial category (NDNC) as a result of which the tariff will increase from Rs 2.50 to 3.50 per unit. The consumer charge for the category has been revised from Rs 25 to Rs 50 per month for connected load upto 20 kw and to Rs 100 for more than 20 kw.

For the commercial consumers the rate have been hiked from Rs 3 to Rs 3.50 per unit and the monthly consumer charge has been increased from Rs 25 to Rs 100 upto 20 kw and Rs 200 for more than 20 kw.

The rate for small scale industries have been increased from Rs 2.25 (11 kv) and Rs 2.35 (230 v) to Rs 3.10 per unit while the large industries will have to pay at the rate of Rs 2.15 per kilo volt ampere hour (kvah) (more than 66 kv) and Rs 2.22 per kvah high tension load in place of the existing Rs 1.90 per kvah.

The rate of bulk supply (upto 11 kv) has been increased to Rs 2.95 to Rs 3.15 per unit. There is no change in the tariff for agriculture power which accounts for a negligible 0.3 per cent of the total power supplied by the board.

The domestic consumers will continue to pay at the existing rates. The Antoydaya families will pay 70 paise per unit (upto 45 unit). The other categories of domestic consumers will also continue to pay at the existing rates of 70 paise per unit for the first 45 units, 1.05 per unit for 46 to 149 units, Rs 1.30 per unit for 150 to 300 units and Rs 2.25 per unit for more than 300 units.

The overall increase for all categories comes to 16.67 per cent as against the hike of 23 percent requested by the board in its tariff application. The board had projected its annual revenue requirement at Rs 1366 crore whereas the commission approved only Rs 1174.64 crore. It did not approve the creation of a regulatory asset as proposed by the board.

The government will pay a subsidy of Rs 40.29 crore annually to the board for subsidising the domestic consumers. The commission ordered that the subsidy of Rs 3.36 crore per month would be paid in advance by opening an irrevocable revolving letter of credit in favour of the board within a month of the issue of the tariff order.

The new tariff order will come into force from July 5, this and remain applicable upto March 31, 2005.

The commission has expressed its concern over the increasing employee cost of the board, which was the highest in the country at Rs 1.32 per unit. It was only 13 paise for Uttaranchal, 16 paise for Andhra Pradesh, 25.16 paise for Gujarat and 39.75 for Delhi.

It has directed the board to take steps to reduce the interest burden by replacing the old expensive loans and expedite various studies concerning employee restructuring, T and D losses, fixed assets and financial restructuring.
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Donít assign Rampur project to nigam: Dhumal
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 2
Mr P.K. Dhumal, former Chief Minister, today opposed the decision of the government to assign the 440 MW Rampur project to the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam.

Initiating the debate on the Budget proposals of the state electricity board for the year 2004-05 in the Vidhan Sabha today he said that the experience with the nigam had been a bitter one.
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Move to freeze reservation in panchayats
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 2
The state government is proposing to bring about a legislative amendment which will freeze the rotation of reservation in panchayats for 10 years instead of the present duration of five years.

Based on the observations of the special committee constituted by the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj to monitor the functioning of the panchayats, it was felt that having reservation in the panchayats on rotation for women or on caste basis every five years was proving to be counter-productive.
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