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SC boost to power tariff hike

New Delhi, Dec. 3: The Supreme Court today dismissed a petition by the All Bengal Electricity Consumers Association and the West Bengal Federation of Consumer Associations, and said it was now for the West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission (WBERC) to fix the new tariff.

The apex court had ruled on October 3 that WBERC should re-fix the tariff, which should be between Rs 3.39 per unit — the rate it had fixed earlier — and Rs 3.97 per unit as hiked by Calcutta High Court.

The consumer associations had approached the Supreme Court after the verdict, seeking clarifications. A three-judge bench of Justice N. Santosh Hegde, Justice B.N. Agrawal and Justice B.P. Singh dismissed the petition, saying the judgment was clear enough.

On October 3, the bench had ruled that CESC should take steps to make the power generating plants “economically viable or close (them) down, if necessary”.

The judges had said that a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) should be considered as a “one time good investment” to “reduce the cost under the head employees cost” and the commission “should bear it in mind” while considering tariff revision for 2002-03 that it has not granted the company’s request to introduce VRS.

“We further direct the company that should there be any need for entering into a fresh settlement with the workmen, any agreement which entitles the workmen to get overtime payment even when overtime work is unnecessary should be done away with,” the judges said.

Ship looted

About 10 armed men looted goods worth several lakhs of rupees from a ship anchored at the military jetty in Diamond Harbour on Monday night. The vessel, Moni, was on its way to Calcutta from Sagar Island. Police said the crew complained that the incident happened at night when most of them were asleep.

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