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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

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TN planters plea to electricity board

Our Bureau

COIMBATORE, July 9

AT a time when the plantation sector is gripped by an unprecedented financial crisis, the steep enhancement in current consumption deposit (CCD) rates on plantation labour quarters would affect the sector to a great extent.

The representative body of the plantation industry in the State -- the Planters' Association of Tamil Nadu (PAT) -- has sought an immediate intervention of the Government for exempting the plantation labourers' service connection from the revised rates o f CCD.

The association, in a representation to the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board Chairman, Mr K. Gnanadesikan, emphasised that the plantation industry was the only one compelled by law to provide free housing for all its employees. (The statutory obligation to e lectrify plantation labour quarters was imposed on the plantation managements following the recommendations of a Five-Man committee appointed by the State Government in 1971). The enhancement in CCD rates would be a heavy financial burden on the manageme nt as the initial deposit had been paid by the employers, it said.

According to PAT, the managements would be forced to shell out a huge sum ranging from Rs 2-5 lakh depending upon the size of the estate.

PAT sources alleged that the revised slab rates of CCD were disproportionate to the actual consumption charges. They further pointed out that it would be totally arbitrary and illegal to pay the CCD rates based on the average of a group of consumers, as the purpose of the CCD was to safeguard the charges payable by the consumer, and could only be a reasonable multiple of the average monthly consumption charge paid by the consumer.

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