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Hike in power, bus fares likely today

Charges of Electricity and RTC are set to rise as the State government is to take a final call and a related decision to this effect is expected on Thursday.

To offer better power supply, the utilities took loans of Rs 2,144 crore and spent Rs 2,700 crore last financial year for power purchase agreement. Despite losses, the government increased salaries to the staff and prompted the power utilities to supply uninterrupted power to industries, nine-hour power to agriculture also spent Rs 2,400 crore to set up new sub-stations, transformers, new lines and related works.

Even as TSRTC employees are going to take up a single day strike on their demands, the State government held a high level review meeting on issues pertaining to TSRTC. Sparing the common people using 100 units from levying the charges, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao asked the officials to increase the electricity charges to those consuming above 100 units a month besides slapping increase in the RTC charges by about 10 per cent.

Since the government’s responsibility is to provide low-cost services of electricity and transportation to people in rural and urban areas, “We can increase the charges to some extent”, KCR stated. Of 86 lakh people, 60 lakh use 100 units for domestic purpose and the rest of 20 lakh connections of multiple businesses, industries and others will get the pinch of electricity charges. While the industries and IT companies are ready to bear about 10 per cent rise, the Chief Minister directed increase of charges up to 7 percent.

Alleging that the previous governments were responsible for collapsing the departments of Electricity and RTC, KCR said efforts will be made to protect them. He said the RTC was facing a debt of Rs 2,275 crore and it was decided to give Rs 75 crore to RTC every month, spend Rs 300 crore to purchase 1,200 buses and bear Rs 500 crore towards concession and other bus passes. He also sought increase not beyond 10 per cent of charges in total while only one Rupee to 30 km for those commuters of Palle Velugu. A decision on RTC and Electricity charges is likely to come on June 23. KCR also asked the officials to focus on strengthening the State-owned Singareni Collieries Company Limited. (NSS)