SRINAGAR — PDP General Secretary, Gulam Nabi Lone Hanjura on Friday expressed concern over the substantial increase in electricity tariffs in Kashmir valley in recent months. He said that even below the poverty line (BPL) consumers, who previously received benefits, are now burdened by escalated fees since the Lieutenant Governor’s rule.
During a press conference in Srinagar, Hanjura stated, “It seems that a 40% hike has been recorded in electricity bills as the flat rate, which was 900, is being increased to 1300, which is very high.”
He noted that impoverished consumers are now charged a flat rate of 1300 per month, equivalent to wealthier consumers. However, the crucial distinction lies in the fact that poorer households, often using just a single electric bulb, are compelled to pay the same amount.
Hanjura pointed out, “Earlier, the government admitted that they didn’t increase the fees, but seeing electricity bills, it clearly indicates that it is increasing, even the load has been increased from time to time in metered and non-metered areas.”
He expressed disappointment in the current government, emphasizing that past administrations, regardless of party affiliation, had prioritized the welfare of poor citizens in such matters.
He criticized the present government for allegedly neglecting the well-being of the people, stating, “The present government left no stone behind in harassing the people here. Amid this rising trend, where will poor people go?”
Adding to the concerns, Hanjura highlighted the lease of the Ratle Hydroelectric Plant to outside states for a 40-year duration. He deemed this move unfortunate, especially considering the existing power crisis in Jammu and Kashmir.
Questioning the decision to export electricity when residents don’t have access to a continuous 24-hour supply, Hanjura called for a reconsideration of such policies, saying, “Even the Ratle Hydroelectric Plant has been given to outside states for 40 years, which is an unfortunate thing.”