APCC working president Kamalakhya Purkasthya was seen reading a newspaper under a Gulmohar tree. (Image: News18)
The observation made by the Speaker, which the opposition claims to be bizarre, has sparked criticism
Extreme heat conditions in Assam in June, with temperatures hovering over 39 degrees Celsius, around 6-8 degrees above normal, have forced people to remain indoors. The average Assam temperature in June ranges typically between 28 to 33 degrees.
The opposition in Assam, including the Congress and Trinamool Congress, chose to spend the hot afternoon on Tuesday under shady trees in the capital city of Guwahati. APCC working president Kamalakhya Purkasthya was seen reading a newspaper under a Gulmohar tree, while TMC Assam President Ripun Bora and other party members gathered under a large tree to escape the scorching sun.
This follows Assam Assembly Speaker Biswajit Daimary’s advice to state residents to spend time under trees to reduce power bills.
“As the state does not have its own electricity production and as we depend on others, we must find ways to combat it. We need to explore alternatives, such as spending time under trees, in order to reduce power bills,” he said.
The observation made by the Speaker, which the opposition claims to be bizarre, has sparked criticism.
According to Ripun Bora, President of TMC Assam, the government has repeatedly increased electricity bills and introduced smart meters, leading to inflated bills.
“The government has repeatedly increased electricity bills and introduced smart meters, which also inflate the bills. The present government is looting the common people by raising the charges per unit by 30 to 70 paisa, while failing to provide uninterrupted electricity. Adding insult to injury, the Speaker of the assembly asks people to sit under trees to save on electricity bills. It is audacious of him to make such a statement, and it is unbecoming of a person of his stature to demean the citizens of the state” Bora said.
Congress MLA and Working President of Assam Pradesh Congress Committee Kamalakhya Purkashtya was spotted sitting beneath a shady tree in front of the Assam Speaker’s official bungalow, reading the morning newspaper.
“I am a people’s representative, and the Speaker of the Assembly has advised us not to use fans and instead sit under trees to cope with the soaring electricity bills. The Speaker has actually spoken based on facts. While Rajasthan and Punjab governments provide subsidies and free electricity, our government continues to raise electricity bills every other month. The government claims it is for the benefit of the state, but I ask how? I am ready to sit under a tree for five days, but I urge the government to reduce electricity bills,” Purkasthya said.
According to reports, APDCL is planning to hike tariffs by 30 paise to 70 paise per unit of electricity consumed. For consumers under the subsidised Jeevan Dhara scheme, the increase will be 30 paise per unit, while for other consumers the hike will be 70 paise.
The notification also included that households consuming 5 to 30 kilowatts of electricity will be required to pay Rs 8.15 per unit, while business establishments will have to pay Rs 8.60 per unit.
In January, APDCL proposed a hike of Re 1 per unit in charges across the state. The proposal was forwarded to the Electricity Regulatory Commission for its decision.
According to sources, APDCL made the decision to ensure a reliable supply and provide better services to customers. Just a few days before that, the rates were increased by 30 paise per unit.
APDCL had decided to charge an additional 30 paise per unit for all power consumers, effective from November 2022.
In relation to this, customers were issued directives by APDCL on December 9.
On November 25 last year, APDCL announced that it would impose a Fuel and Power Purchase Price Adjustment (FPPPA) charge of 79 paise per unit on all categories of consumers in electricity bills for the months of November, December 2022, and January 2023.