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Sukhpal Singh Khaira, MLA Bholath


Electricity duty hike/2-3 days of cuts- forcing many industrial
houses to shift operations out of Punjab

Sukhpal Singh Khaira
MLA Bholath.
June 17, 2010

Congress party urges the Punjab Govt. to immediately roll back the hike made in electricity duty from 10 to 13 percent making Punjab the second costliest for industry in the country. The Congress party is particularly concerned about the power intensive industries of induction furnaces, rolling mills, mini steel plants and scores of textile units which are likely to be worst hit with this increase.

As we are aware Punjab has been severely hit due to power crises for the last many years, industry particularly has taken a beating with 2-3 days of cuts forcing many industrial houses to shift operations out of Punjab. This increase of 3 percent in electricity would be like the last nail on the coffin of already dilapidated industry. It has become highly impossible for industry in Punjab to compete with neighboring states in view of the concessions available  in terms of excise and sales tax rebates to states like Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Uttarakhand etc. Being a land locked state Punjab faces  imminent threat of major industries taking flight to other states in view of such harsh measures being imposed by the state govt.

Congress party also supports the genuine demand of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry to make electricity duty VATable so that the industry is spared the high cost of production to compete with other states. The Congress party also urges the state govt. to withdraw without further delay the octroi imposed on electricity. While on other goods, octroi has been merged with VAT, therefore charging separate octroi on electricity is unfair play for the industry of our state.

While the Akali’s have all along subsidized power to the agriculture sector it would be unfair to make such increases only for industry which offers a great deal of employment in the state. Industry has already suffered a lot due to shortage of power by burning excessive diesel through generators to run their units adding further to their production cost. In case the SAD-BJP govt. fails to listen to the genuine grievances of the industry the onus of any shift of industry to other states or shut down of industry would lie directly on the SAD-BJP govt.