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Industries move Gujarat HC seeking relief in power bills

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Nirupam Banerjee, Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Friday sought a reply from the state government and power distribution companies after a petition demanding a waiver of fixed minimum demand electricity charges for the month of May and June came up for hearing. The single-judge bench of Justice BN Karia issues a notice to the Gujarat government and power discoms directing them to file their replies by June 5.

The petitioner Gujarat Re-Rolling Mills Association through its counsel Arpit Singhvi has contended before the court that the 63 industries under its umbrella had to stop business activities due to the imposition of the lockdown in March amid the coronavirus pandemic. The association pointed out that although several relaxations were granted in the fourth phase of the lockdown, the member industries could not resume business activities owing to the prevalent migrant labour crisis and shortage of labour.

The association has claimed that since the industries are facing unprecedented economic and financial crisis at the moment, they are not in a position to pay the fixed minimum demand electricity charges being levied by the discoms for the month of May. The association also claimed that many of the member industries are on the brink of closure and any further economic hardship will affect their survival.

Notably, the state government had waived the fixed minimum demand electricity charges for industries for the month of April and the industries were asked to pay only actual consumption charges. However, no such relief has been extended for the month of May.

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