People's Democracy

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


No. 03

January 20, 2013




CPI(M) to Strive for United Movement

against Power Tariff Hike Proposal


THE Andhra Pradesh state committee of the CPI(M) has decided to take initiative to launch a widespread united movement against the proposed power tariff hike and appealed to all political parties, mass organisations and people to join the movement. It also demanded a clear cut statement from the central government on the issue of division of state by the end of January.


The state committee met in Hyderabad on January 10 and 11 which was also attended by Party general secretary Prakash Karat and Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury. Briefing newspersons about the outcome of the meeting, Polit Bureau member and state secretary B V Raghavulu said the committee discussed about the political situation in the state and the problems of the people, particularly the huge burdens of electricity bills. Referring to the intense anticipation and hope among people about a final decision on the vexatious issue of division of state, he said the state committee was of the opinion that the people will not excuse the Congress party if it once again resorted to subterfuge and postpone the decision.


The living standards of working people cutting across class lines are deteriorating rapidly due to various burdens being heaped by the governments. In such a scenario, the four electricity distribution companies (Discoms) have proposed a 10-30 per cent tariff hike for various categories of power consumers from April to raise Rs 12,723 crore. The AP Electricity Regulatory Commission will hold public hearings and decide by March 31 on this request of Discoms. Given the past record, it is likely to okay the proposal without much change.


Raghavulu said the people of the state, who are already bearing the brunt of higher power bills due to fuel surcharge arrears, will not be in a position to accept any further burdens in the form of higher tariff. He said the state committee felt the need to build a powerful movement against this before March 31 in order to stop implementation of this proposal. So far, each party has been conducting agitation against power tariff burdens. However, only a powerful united movement can force the government to rescind from this move and therefore the CPI(M) has appealed to all parties to come on to a common platform for this movement. Raghavulu acknowledged the difficulties in this regard viz TDP and YSRCP coming together or Left and BJP coming together. However these parties can at least synchronise their agitations in order to pressurise the government. He also appealed to TRS and others to take up this issue seriously even as they continue their political fight on their demands of separate statehood or united state.


The state committee proposed a three phase movement on this issue. The first phase would see the setting up of a broad, united platform involving as many political parties, mass organisations as possible and petitioning the government to rescind from the move to burden the consumers; campaigning extensively among the people about the real reasons for such burdens being heaped on them and preparing them to fight. A request has been made to trade unions to include this demand also in Andhra Pradesh during their February 20 and 21 all India strike. In the second phase, all government activity would be boycotted, including assembly session by involving masses. If the government does not back off, in the final phase, a call would be given to masses to stop paying their electricity bills.


Raghavulu said the Left parties would meet first and discuss about this movement before involving other political parties to make this a powerful united movement.