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Bandh against electricity tariff hike brings Bhiwandi to a halt for second day
Friday November 8, 2013 1:46 AM, Staff Reporter

More than eight lakh powerlooms in Bhiwandi - one of the biggest textile centres in India some 60 kms from here, were silent consecutive for second day as weavers continued their protest against the electricity tariff hike which began Wednesday.

The ten-day bandh which began from Wednesday against the electricity tariff is called by "Bhiwandi Sangharsh Samiti" - an umbrella body formed with the support of all NGOs associated with local the powerloom industry, social groups and political parties.

The electricity distribution company of Maharashtra has hiked the electricity tariff by about 40% in the name of additional charges, local powerloom unit owners said.

The worst affected due to the bandh are the labourers and others associated with related industries. As these labourers are working on very low wages, the bandh is forcing the labourers, who are mostly migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, to return back to their home states.

Moreover, since local textile industry controls the entire economy of the town, other enterprises are also facing losses due to the bandh. Local textile industry alone is estimated to be losing 300 crore rupees every day.

Meanwhile, more textile centres in Maharashtra are announcing protests against the electricity tariff hike. While Ichalkiranji announced five days shutdown beginning from Thursday, Malegaon, another biggest textile cluster in Maharashtra, is contemplating to go for a bandh for eight days.

"Over 1.5 lakh powerloom in Ichalkiranji will be silent for five days from November 07 to November 11 in protest against the recent hike in tariff", Pratap Hogade, president of Maharashtra Rajya Weeg Grahak Sanghatna, said while talking to

He said there was a total bandh on the first day. Over 25 NGOs supported the bandh call given by Maharashtra Rajya Weeg Grahak Sanghatna.

The state government had announced in the winter session of the assembly held in Nagpur last year that it will supply electricity to powerloom industry on subsidised rate of Rs.1.80.

Despite the announcement in the assembly, the cabinet later revised this rate to Rs.2.57 per unit. But, we were shocked when we received last month's bill whith a tariff which was hiked again.

Powerloom unit owners say, electricity tariff in Maharashtra is already on the higher side if compared with other states.


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