A day after Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani announced a waiver on property tax and fixed charge in the electricity bill for a year, to give relief to the hotels, resorts, restaurants and water parks in the state, traders are demanding similar waivers in Delhi and Noida as they are reeling under COVID-19 curbs since the onset of the severe second wave of the pandemic.
Citing the Gujarat government's move, the Confederation of Traders Association of India's Delhi and Noida chapters have demanded similar relief in a bid to start afresh from their governments. The Delhi government allowed the opening up of shops and other commercial establishments starting June 7.
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"In Delhi, traders are facing a big financial crisis and on the other hand to make the situation worse, the electricity providers have sent highly inflated bills to commercial and industrial establishments for the period of lockdown when these establishments were completely closed and making the life of traders more miserable."
"Under the circumstances, we urged you to look into the matter urgently and grant a financial package for the traders of Delhi and direct the Electricity providers to take back the electricity bills issued to commercial and industrial establishments for the lockdown period," Praveen Khandelwal, CAIT secretary general and Vipin Ahuja, Delhi state president wrote to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Power distribution companies (discom) in Delhi are run by private companies Tata Power and Reliance Infra led companies and sources suggest that any relief on account of fixed charges can only be announced by the government in Delhi.
"It is important to note that COVID-19 led pandemic had a severe impact in Delhi in the second wave in Delhi and all of a sudden shops and commercial establishments were shut to curb the spread of the virus. Due to the rise in cases, physical reading of meters were stopped and hence provisional billings were done. The inflated bill is nothing but a provisional which can be rectified by the discoms and adjusted accordingly once brought to notice," said a source.
Following the steps of Delhi, Noida traders have also written to the Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, seeking a waiver on fixed electricity charges as traders have faced a hard time due to COVID-19 led lockdowns in the last year.
"Businesses are running at heavy losses since the first wave of COVID-19 from March 2020. A long lockdown was held in the first pandemic and now again in the second wave, all markets were closed due to the second wave of the pandemic. Request you to waive off fixed charge in electricity bills of commercial establishments, traders hotels, resorts, restaurants and water parks affected by COVID-19 pandemic for one year i.e, from April 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022," Sushil Kumar Jain, president, Sector 18 Market Association Noida.
(Edited by : Jomy Jos Pullokaran)