People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 20

May 15, 2011




Left Parties Campaign

against Power Tariff Hike


ELEVEN Left parties in Andhra Pradesh would take to the path of struggles opposing the anti-people power policy adopted by the state government, particularly the hikes proposed in the electricity tariff. Two seminars, one in Srikakulam on May 26 and the other at Nellore on June 5, will be organised as a preparation for these struggles.


The Left parties also demanded from the government a white paper with regard to allocation of lands for corporates and private individuals so far disregarding all norms. They also demanded that the government must also convene an all party meeting on this issue.


The leaders of these eleven Left parties held a meeting on May 11 at the CPI state office, Maqdoom Bhavan. This meeting was presided over by the CPI (ML) New Democracy leader Vemulapalli Venkat Ramaiah. B V Raghavulu, Y Venkateswara Rao (CPI-M); K Narayana, K Ramakrishna (CPI); Suryam (New Democracy); Gurram Vijay Kumar (CPI-ML); Malleswara Rao (CPI-ML Liberation) and others participated in this meeting.


Speaking to the media after the meeting, CPI state secretary K Narayana said the power tariff policies of the state government would impose burdens on the people. He told how the management of private Konaseema Power plant  has sued the Discoms to a tune of Rs 1430 crore as compensation for failing to supply gas to them, as per the agreement. The ‘Power regulatory committee’ is conducting hearings on this matter, he explained. Another 3-4 corporates are also preparing themselves to sue the Discoms to the tune of around Rs 6000 crore as compensation. The eleven Left parties in a joint statement have announced their decision to lend their voice and register their arguments together at the hearings of the ‘Power regulatory committee’.


It may be recalled that the state government's decision to allow private thermal power projects in the coastal region with a total power generation capacity of 73,000 mega watts, triggered severe protests from the people of the region. The fishermen would lose their livelihood and the eco system of the region would suffer badly, noted environmentalists expressed concern. During the struggle opposing these plants, five people died in the police firings at places like Sompeta recently. In this backdrop the Left parties have decided to hold seminars in order to strengthen the morale of the people on the path of struggle and thus intensify the agitations, Narayana mentioned.

The CPI leader charged that the central government was holding back raising the prices of petrol and diesel just because of the assembly elections. He expressed apprehension that it is preparing the ground to announce the petroleum prices hike after the poll results on May 13. If these prices are raised and additional burdens imposed on the people, the Left parties would take to the path of struggles instantly, Narayana told the media.


The Left parties joint statement also flagged the issue of minimum support price to the produce of farmers who are fighting on this issue. The state government was criticised for not heeding the farmers demands. The Left parties have announced their total support to the farmers on this issue, and would launch direct agitations if the government does not yield. The budget allocated for the SCs and STs should be spent for that cause only, the Left parties statement demanded. The state government, which had bowed for the demand of a legislature committee with regard to the irresponsible land allocations during the assembly session, is now delaying the same under one pretext or the other, the statement criticised.