Monday, November 29, 1999

High power charges, octroi hurt Punjab manufacturers: industry

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Chandigarh, June 16 (PTI) High industrial electricity duty and octroi on power are making manufacturing units in Punjab uncompetitive, an industry body said today. "State industry is suffering from high electricity rates and octroi on power which has rendered it uncompetitive in domestic and global markets, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry President, P D Sharma said. Punjab is the only state in India that levvies octroi on power, he said. The state charges 10 paise power per unit from the industries as octroi. Besides, it has priced electricity industrial consumer rates at 60 paise per unit, higher than the 11 paise per unit it charged in 2005. While accusing the state government of ruining the industry with its anti-industry policies, Sharma asked state authorities to adjust electricity duty against VAT payment and remove octroi on power in order to save the fading industry. We demand from the state government to adjust electricity duty payment against VAT and remove octroi, he said. The Apex Chamber was representing industry concerns in cities like Ludhiana, Mohali, Mandi Gobindgarh, Dera Bassi and Jalandhar. It said that while Punjabs power tariff rate at Rs. 5.28 per unit was second highest after Gujarat in India, the state suffered from long power cuts. Though Gujarat is charging highest rate, there is no power shortage in that state. But here we face huge power shortage forcing the power intensive industry like induction furnaces to curtail capacity utilisation by 50 per cent, the Apex Chamber President said. Mohinder Gupta, President of Mandi Gibindgarh Induction Furnace Association, argued that all the steel and induction furnace units in Punjab were utilising just half of their capacity as it was now cheaper for buyers to buy steel from neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh. The industry representative also chastised the state government for delay in VAT refund worth Rs. 230 crore. This money is in fact the earnest money of industry lying with government. If state hesitates to return our money, then how will an industry get capital to run its unit, Sharma said. PTI CHS PL.

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