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Nitish cabinet approves subsidy for power consumers

Press Trust of India  |  Patna 

The Bihar cabinet today gave its nod for giving subsidy to energy consumers after the state regulatory commission had hiked the power tariff by five per cent for 2018-19.

The decision to give much needed respite to power consumers was taken at a meeting of the state cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) had on March 21 last announced the new power tariff for 2018-19.

Last year too, the state govenrnment had announced the similar subsidy for power consumers after the Commission had ordered for 55 per cent hike in power tariff.

Briefing mediapersons after cabinet meeting, Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh said the cabinet decided to give a subsidy of Rs 3.45 per unit for domestic consumers in rural areas thus bringing the effective rate to Rs 3.17 per unit.

He said this is much lower than the prevailing tariff in neighbouring states of West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh where the same category is being charged at Rs 4.75 and Rs 4.25 per unit respectively.

Similarly for urban domestic consumers, BERC's average rate was Rs 7.23 per unit but after subsidy of Rs 1.83 a unit, the final rate would come down to Rs 5.40 per unit.

The same is Rs 5.02 a unit in West Bengal and Rs 6.58 per unit in UP, said Singh, who was accompanied South Bihar Power Distribution Company Ltd Managing Director R Lakshmanan.

The decision was taken to offset the hike in power tariff to give relief to power consumers, he said.

A total of Rs 4137 crore has been sanctioned for giving subsidy to power consumers in the current financial year of 2018-19, he said adding that it would be Rs 1185 crore more than the last year's Rs 2952 crore of subsidy announced for the same purpose.

In another important decision, the cabinet gave its nod to the Energy department's proposal to completely transfer the state government's owned Barauni Thermal Power Station (BTPS) in Begusarai to NTPC, the Chief Secretary said.

Besides, it also decided to handover the two joint venture power firms- Muzaffarpur based Kanti Bijlee Utapadan Nigam Ltd and Aurangabad based Nabinagar Power Generating Company Ltd- to Maharatna public sector NTPC, he said.

The cabinet also approved a finance department's proposal to get linked with all bank accounts with "Aadhaar" by June 30, 2018 for giving subsidy/scholarships amount directly into the beneficiaries bank account through RTGS/NEFT, he said.

The cabinet gave its nod for the development and beautification of Punaura Dham, a religious place in Sitamarhi district, at a cost of Rs 48.53 crore, Chief Secretary said adding that cabinet sanctioned Rs 10.67 crore to be spent in the current financial year.

Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation, Patna has been named as executive agency for the purpose, he added.

Punaura Dham is considered as the birth place of Sita.

A total of 21 agendas of different departments were cleared at the cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 17 2018. 20:25 IST