RTC, power fares likely to go up after Huzurabad bypoll

Deccan Chronicle.  | dc correspondent

Nation, Current Affairs

Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao asked the TSRTC and TS Genco officials to submit hike proposals after Dasara in October

TSRTC sought Chief Minister’s approval to hike charges to tide over huge losses on account of the Covid pandemic at a meeting held in Pragathi Bhavan on September 21. (DC Photo)

HYDERABAD: The state government is in favour of hiking power charges and TSRTC bus ticket fares in December simultaneously after Huzurabad Assembly bypoll, which is expected anytime in November.

Official sources said Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao asked the TSRTC and TS Genco officials to submit hike proposals after Dasara in October. The Cabinet will later meet to discuss hike proposals and take a decision in this regard.

But since increasing charges involves political implications, the Chief Minister wants to wait till Huzurabad bypoll is over to effect a hike in charges, sources said. This is said to be because the TRS is aggressively campaigning against the probable BJP candidate Etala Rajendar in Huzurabad stating that the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre had imposed an unbearable burden on common people by increasing the prices of domestic LPG cylinders, petrol and diesel during the last two years.

If the RTC bus fare and electricity charges are increased by the TRS government at this stage, it will give scope for the BJP to counter TRS criticism and push the ruling party into defensive mode.

It may be recalled that Discoms and the TSRTC sought Chief Minister’s approval to hike charges to tide over huge losses on account of the Covid pandemic at a meeting held in Pragathi Bhavan on September 21.

Huzurabad Assembly seat fell vacant on June 12 and as per norms the bypoll has to be held within six months of the seat falling vacant. Going by this, the deadline for Huzurabad bypoll is December 12. The TRS leadership expects the Election Commission to conduct a bypoll by November-end, according to sources.

Sources said the TSRTC wanted to seek ticket fare hike up to 20 per cent for ordinary/Palle Velugu buses and up to 30 per cent for deluxe, luxury, inter-state buses.

Last time, when bus charges were hiked by 20 per cent in December 2019, the TSRTC's daily earnings increased up to Rs 13.5 crore. But all these profits were wiped out by the outbreak of Covid due to which the TSRTC suffered Rs 5,000 crore losses since March 2020. The TSRTC aims to earn up to Rs 16 crore per day with the fresh hike.

Similarly, TS Discoms (TSSPDCL and TSNPDCL) are incurring an average loss of Rs 1.10 on every unit of power as the Discoms are have an expenditure of Rs 7.14 to supply each unit but getting only Rs 6.93 in return as charges were not revised since 2015. Even in 2015, charges were revised for all categories except domestic consumers.

This time, TS Discoms seek tariff hikes for all categories of consumers. They reportedly want hike up to Rs 1.50 per unit for commercial category and up to 50 paise for domestic category through which it expects to mop up an additional Rs 2,500 crore revenue.

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