LAHORE: People from various walks of life have rejected the around Rs2 per unit increase in the electricity tariff, urging the government to immediately withdraw the decision.

They said the hike in power tariff may jack up prices of almost all other products and commodities.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan, while in the opposition, had called the then rulers robbers and looters for raising power tariff or petrol prices. By that logic, we believe that the current rulers are also plunderers since they have hiked the power tariff. They also continue to increase petrol prices,” All Pakistan Anjuman Tajiran General Secretary Naeem Mir said.

Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan had on Thursday announced Rs1.95 per unit increase in electricity tariff. The decision attracted wide-ranging criticism from all categories of consumers.

They termed the decision unwise, especially at a time when people were already living under a lot of burden due to price hike, increasing unemployment and cost of doing businesses etc.

All Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Union Secretary General Khursheed Ahmad appealed to the prime minister to withdraw the recent increase in power tariff.

Addressing a press conference at the Labour Hall, he said the annual capacity payment of independent private power house had risen from Rs185bn in 2013 to Rs860bn in 2020, which is likely to reach around Rs1.5 trillion in 2023. He urged to take effective legal measures to prevent electricity theft and protect Disco employees against the thieves.

Mr Ahmad said that although more than 46,000 cases had been registered against electricity theft, not a single person had been punished. He demanded that the tariff be reduced, which was becoming hard to pay by the low-income consumers.

Domestic consumers also lashed out at the government over the tariff increase.

“I don’t know who is giving such advice to the government that has already brought upon destruction to the country,” Ikram, a local resident, deplored.

Another local said the hike in power tariff meant an increase in cost of manufacturing goods, steel/furnace, eatables, houses, transport etc. He demanded the government provide relief to the common person instead of making their lives miserable.

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2021

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