Mumbai, Mar 20 (IANS): The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday laid siege at the MSEB head offices protesting against the proposed hike in electricity tariff and terming it as a "recipe to drive out industries" from Maharashtra.
Spearheaded by AAP Mumbai President Preeti Sharma-Menon, along with Vice President Mehmood Deshmukh, Sandeep Katke and Pius Varghese, the protestors demanded an immediate roll back of the proposed hike that would further burden the consumers.
Sharma-Menon said that in February, the AAP had written to the Maharashtra Electric Regulatory Commission (MERC) raising objections to the power free increase, which the government has justified as "unavoidable".
Terming it as "unacceptable", she said that electricity supply is not a privilege but a basic amenity which is absolutely necessary for a dignified life, and the upcoming hike would only serve "to drive away industries from Maharashtra".
"When the AAP governments in Delhi and Punjab can provide 200-300 units of power free of charge to the consumers, then why can't Maharashtra do the same here," she asked.
Deshmukh pointed out that not only are the electricity tariffs in Mumbai and Maharashtra the highest in the country, the proposed hike will increase it by another 37 per cent across various slabs, adding to the peoples' woes under the all-time high inflation the nation is reeling under.
Katke pointed out that even the move to disconnect electric meters of those who don't pay up is illegal, and warned of a bigger agitation if the proposed tariff hikes are not withdrawn forthwith.
Varghese alleged that the fresh hikes are intended to help the businessmen 'friends' of the Bharatiya Janata Party and sought to know why should the ordinary consumers bear the extra financial burden without any value addition.