People's Democracy

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


No. 49

December 09, 2012


Angry Protests before APERC


THE ongoing struggle against power tariff burdens being heaped on the people of Andhra Pradesh reached a dramatic high point when leaders of all opposition political parties in the state staged a sit-in in the court hall itself during the public hearing conducted by AP Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) on December 3. The APERC was conducting public hearing over proposals by distribution companies to collect another Rs 983 crore as Fuel Surcharge Adjustment (FSA) charges from consumers pertaining to the second quarter of 2012-13. Already over Rs 10,000 crore is being collected from consumers across the board through this FSA route for previous years.


CPI(M) state secretary B V Raghavulu in a brief address to the commission members said they do not deserve to be in their seats because they were repeatedly bowing to the dictates of the state government and heaping unjust burdens on the people ignoring their supposed role if ‘protecting’ the interests of consumers. He announced that he is staging a sit-in there itself protesting this anti-consumer  role of the APERC. He walked to in front of the podium and sat down raising slogans against tariff burdens. Immediately leaders of CPI, BJP, TRS, CPI(ML) and leaders of other parties who were waiting to give their presentations joined Raghavulu in the protest.


Taken aback by this development, the  APERC chairman A  Raghothma Rao adjourned the exercise abruptly. The chairman and other two members of the commission could not move out as the leaders blocked their way. The police was called in and they resorted to high handedness while evicting the leaders from the court hall. Raghavulu and others suffered minor injuries as the police forcibly dragged them away from the court hall into the waiting police vans. The leaders were arrested and released in the evening.


This was the first time that such a protest took place at the public hearing. With power bills showing a hefty 80 to 100 per cent hike in the form of FSA. there is growing anger amongst people. The Left parties tried to reflect that anger during the hearing of APERC which sought to impose further burden on consumers.