Panaji, Apr 2 (PTI) The Congress today criticised the BJP-led Goa government for increasing the domestic electricity tariff and bringing it almost on par with the commercial power usage rates, dubbing it as a “dangerous trend”.

The electricity tariff has been increased in the state with effect from yesterday.

“The people are forced to face this grim situation where the power tariff has become a major concern. This is a dangerous trend of having equal tariff for domestic and commercial consumers,” Congress MLA and former chief minister Digambar Kamat said here at a press conference.

As per the new tariff structure, the domestic users consuming 301 to 401 units of power have to pay Rs 5.10 per unit, which is almost equivalent to the lowest commercial slab charge of Rs 5.15 per unit, the former power minister said.

The Goa government recently accepted recommendations of the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC), which had suggested a review of the power tariff in the state.

Kamat said that Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar should file an immediate appeal before the JERC in order to protect the interests of the domestic consumers.

Goa Congress’ outgoing president Shantaram Naik said that under section 65 of the Electricity Act-2013, the state government was empowered to grant subsidy to its consumers.

“I would urge the government to invoke the section and give relief to the people,” Naik said.

Notably, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane had last week warned of a protest if the hike in power rates was not withdrawn by April 30.

He had said that such a huge hike should not be imposed on people as they were already facing financial problems due to the ban on mining in the state since March 16.

Rane had said he would also write to the state Cabinet Advisory Committee, demanding that the government reject the recommendations of the JERC.

The committee, comprising ministers Sudin Dhavalikar, Francis D’Souza and Vijai Sardesai, has been formed to run the day-to-day affairs of the state in the absence of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is away in the US for medical treatment.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.