Cash-strapped Himachal cuts power subsidy, hikes vehicle tax

4 months ago 29
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Shimla: The cash-strapped Himachal Pradesh (HP) government has come down hard at consumers by increasing vehicle registration fees and also slashed electricity subsidy to shore up its revenue amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.

These decisions were taken during a state cabinet meeting on Thursday.

The registration fees for motorcycles have been increased from the existing 2.5%-4% to 7%-10%.

The new registration fee for a motorcycle that costs up to Rs 50,000 will be 7%; 8% for above Rs 50,000, and up to Rs 2 lakh; and 10% for above Rs 2 lakh.

Similarly, the registration fee for a car has been increased from 8% to 10%.

The state government will charge 100% of the composite fee from small contract carriers coming to HP with riders from outside states.

The 15-day waiver for contract carriers, who paid the tax for a month at one go, has also been done away with.

The state government has decided to slash the Rs 480-crore subsidy for the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEB) by Rs 110 crore in a bid to give relief to those consumers, whose monthly consumption is below 125 units.

Government data showed that 18% of the subsidy went to 11 lakh consumers, who consume less than 125 units of electricity per month, and the rest to another nine lakh consumers, whose consumption is over 125 units in a month.

There will be no change in the power bills for consumers using electricity less than 125 units a month.

However, those who use power between 125 and 200 units a month will see a hike between Rs 40 and Rs 113 in their monthly electricity bills.

Similarly, those consuming between 201 to 300 units of power will see an increase between Rs 115 and Rs 200 in their monthly bills.

The consumption pattern between Rs 301 and 400 electricity units will entail an increase in the monthly bill between Rs 200 and Rs 290. A consumer has to cough up between Rs 300 and Rs 400 more a month, if his consumption is found to be 401 units or above.

In HP, a consumer pays Rs 2.62 for a unit of power, as compared to Rs 6.59 and Rs 3.27 in neighbouring Punjab and Uttarakhand, respectively.

The state government has also allowed running of buses with 100% of their capacity, but refused to increase fares.

Earlier, private bus operators had demanded that the minimum fare be doubled to Rs 10 from Rs 5 because of 60% occupancy due to social distancing norms owing to the viral outbreak.

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