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Cut power tariff

Domestic power consumers in Haryana are up in arms against the steep increase in the electricity tariff from April 1, 2013. The government has argued that the tariff has been increased only by 13 per cent and that the rates are reasonable, ranging from Rs 2.98 to Rs 5.98 per.

However, a look at the power bill shows that a consumer is required to pay not only the cost per unit but also other charges towards fuel surcharge adjustment (FSA), municipal tax, electricity duty and sundry charges. Taking into account all these, the effective cost ranges from Rs 3.90 to Rs 7.40 per unit. Besides, the telescopic rates available up to March 31, 2013, stand abolished. Categories 1 and 2 have been merged, providing a meagre relief of Rs ~100 per month.

The power tariff has gone up from ~3 per unit in 2012-2013 to Rs 3.90 per unit in 2013-2014, registering a 30 per cent increase. The FSA was increased from 15 to 37 paise per unit in 2012 -2013 to 77-127 paise in 2013-2014, a steep rise of 243 to 413 per cent. The 37 paise per unit FSA was imposed for three months -- from July to September-- but now it has been made permanent. Moreover, when property tax has been levied, the municipal tax from the power tariff should go. The state should recover the outstanding bills amounting to Rs 4,530 crore and reduce the transmission and distribution losses from the present level of 25 per cent to the internationally accepted level of 10 per cent. Telescopic rates need to be restored in toto. People have made it clear that they cannot be hoodwinked by specious pleas anymore. The domestic power tariff up to 400 units per month requires to be reduced reasonably in order to provide relief to the besieged aam aadmi.

Dr Prem Singh Dahiya, Rohtak

Poor show in hockey

Beaten at the hands of England and New Zealand, at last it was draw with Germany, world number 1 and Olympic champs, even as the hosts seem all set to be dominating at the foot of the tables tally in the ongoing Hockey World League finals. It has become a habit with our National Hockey team which lacks confidence, right approach and quality leadership. Perhaps they never went for the kill. Sluggish on synthetic surface, they made the game not only dull and boring for the viewers but also slowed it down as compared to their contemporaries in the pool. Not only do they play possessive hockey, but they are also always on the defensive. Under pressure, they made several follies while the team lacked the spirit of performance. The team is so young, with the average age being 22, yet one fails to understand why they are not clicking while the home crowds are cheering.

BM Dhawan, Chandigarh

Being Kaur

Apropos the article Being Kaur in unsafe city (January 14), Sikh youth today are burdened with so many issues that they have no time for religion. So, ultimately, there could be a big gulf between women who wear turbans and those who don't.

In the present times, turbans are not worn to get equal treatment or propagate our faith. Back then, it was the dress code of our military wing. At that time, it served the purpose for equal treatment etc.

Today, emphasis needs to be laid on morals, character issues and community participation. Symbols are not for the established communities.

Amarjit S Duggal, Atlanta, GA (USA)

Sikh women

Thanks for publishing such an informative article by Neha Abraham and Rhea John on amritdhari (baptised) Sikh girls. In the Sikh religion, Guru Gobind Singh gave equal status to men and women in all respects. As per his concept of 'Sant sipahi' and his saying 'Chidiyon se mein baaz ladayoon tabhi Gobind Singh naam kahayoon', he bestowed equal rights on women to get baptised, learn martial arts and wear dastaar (turban) if they wanted to. In the modern world, governments discuss women empowerment, but this concept was enshrined in Sikhism over 300 years ago. The need of the hour is that Sikh women must increase their spiritual and physical power by getting baptised which will help them in enlightenment, self-empowerment and self-defence.

Er Harmohan Kaur, Patiala

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