Nagpur: Energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule will finally announce lower industrial power tariff for industries in Vidarbha, Marathwada, Northern Maharashtra and backward talukas of Western Maharashtra on Wednesday. "The five-member cabinet sub-committee has sorted out all the issues. The subsidy for Northern Maharashtra and backward talukas of Western Maharashtra will be fundedby the Rs 1,000 crore budgetary allocation. A formula has been devised for that," the minister told TOI on Sunday.
While Bawankule is gung ho, there are still some differences within the sub-committee. Shiv Sena member Diwakar Raote wants special status for Marathwada. "The government should spend equal amount on subsidy to Vidarbha and Marathwada. Vidarbha is already witnessing lot of industrialization but Marathwada is facing drought," the Sena minister told TOI. Even after Raote was pointed out that the reduced power rates for Vidarbha and Marathwada industries would be the same, the minister refused to budge from his stand.
A senior MSEDCL officer in know of things said transport minister Raote had demanded that power rates for industries all over the state, irrespective of the region they are located in, should be reduced. "He had pointed out that Vidarbha and Marathwada industries already get exemption from 9% electricity duty," the officer said. This stand was publicly taken by industries minister Subhash Desai, also from Sena.
The proposal to reduce power tariff for Vidarbha and Marathwada industries has been dragging on since months. The committee, which drafted the proposal, was constituted under Nagpur divisional commissioner Anup Kumar, in September 2015. The panel submitted its report to government during the winter session of state assembly in December.
The government was expected to announce the policy during the session itself but it then formed a committee under the chief secretary to seek views from other departments. After much dilly-dallying, this committee submitted its report to the government in March 2016. The proposal finally came up before the state cabinet on May 24. Due to opposition from ministers of Mumbai and Pune regions, the cabinet decided to constitute a five member sub-committee under Bawankule to take the final decision. The other members of the sub-committee were Raote, Girish Mahajan (irrigation), Vishnu Sawra (tribal development) and Rajkumar Badole (social justice).