KSEB in forefront to loot Sabarimala

published on December 6, 2006

Special power tariff for Sabarimala a real shocker


Pioneer News Service | Thiruvananthapuram


 


The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) seems to have different rules for different organisations as far as power tariff is concerned.


 


 


The board is literally giving a shock to Sabarimala temple by charging Rs15.30 for a unit of electricity, which is much higher than the tariff charged from the extra high-tension consumers.


 


Travancore Dewaswom Board president G Raman Nair said that he and his officers-in-charge of power distribution had reported the matter to the KSEB officials. He also said that they had taken up the issue with the higher authorities in the Power Department but to no avail.


 


At several meetings they had with the power authorities, the Electricity Board insisted that higher rates had to be charged as there was a huge infrastructure cost involved in the particular terrain.


 


At present, there are two types of electricity rates for Sabarimala. For the Appam and Aravana plant, the usual industrial rate of Rs 3.25 per unit is being charged. Ironically, the high rates are applicable at Pampa and Sannidhanam, where the basic amenities for the pilgrims are arranged and this has led to widespread protests. Apart from the amount extracted as monthly tariff, there is a fixed rate also to be paid monthly. It goes without saying that the burden will be borne by the pilgrims ultimately.


 


While Electricity Board chairman TM Manoharan was not available as he was on an official visit to Delhi, higher officials in the board said that the KSEB had an agreement with the Dewaswom Board on this and the rates had been fixed.


 


KSEB officials also said that as these were temporary structures, transportation of materials through the tough terrains involved huge costs and this was the major reason for the high tariff. The employees deputed to Sabarimala during the season were being given three times their normal salary and other allowances, and the Electricity Board had no alternative but to hike the tariff.


 


Until the last four years, the rates were fixed on the basis of the number of lights used and on finding that it was unscientific, the new system was worked out, said a senior engineer with the Electricity Board. He added that the lack of a permanent electricity distribution system was the main reason for charging such a high rate.


 


Hindu Aikya Vedi leader Kummanam Rajashekaran, who criticised the Government policy of charging higher rates from Sabarimala devotees, said this was highly deplorable. He added that the Power Minister had promised to look into these discrepancies during the preliminary meeting held between the officials and voluntary organisations before the start of the season. The Transports Department at least had the courtesy to reduce the hiked rates, he added.


 

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