Karnataka Bandh Today, Here's why
Karnataka Bandh Today, Here's why

BANGALORE: In Karnataka, a state-wide strike is set to take place today, June 22, organized by the Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). This strike has been called in response to the significant surge in electricity charges. The KCCI has urged all trade and industry bodies to close their establishments during this Karnataka Bandh. In this article, we will provide you with detailed information about what will be open and closed during this strike.

Impact on Essential Services -Fortunately, the Karnataka Bandh will only affect business establishments and will not disrupt essential services or vehicle movement. President Vinay Javali of the KCCI clarified that the strike is solely directed towards business establishments as a means of protest against the exorbitant electricity price hike implemented by ESCOM's (Electricity Supply Companies). Consequently, essential services will continue to operate smoothly, ensuring minimal inconvenience to the general public.

The KCCI has released an official statement emphasizing the reasons behind the Bandh and their objectives. The statement reads, "We urge all trade and industry bodies to close their establishments on 22nd June. This strike aims to protest the abnormal increase in electricity charges by ESCOM's. Despite our efforts to highlight the severe impact of this price hike over the past eight days, we have received no viable solutions from government representatives or officials."

The KCCI hopes that by organizing this Bandh, they will capture the government's attention and inspire them to address the issue promptly. Their primary goal is to negotiate a reduction in electricity charges for the benefit of the trade and industry sectors.

Numerous district chambers and industry associations have pledged their support for the agitation. The District Chambers of Gadag, Bijapur, Rancbennur, Raichur, Talikoti, Vijaynagar, Mysore, Davangere, Koppal, Bagalkoti, Dharwad, Sirsi, Karwar, Bidar, Shivamoga, Kolar, Mandya, Chickmangalore, Yadgir, Chitradurga, KalyanKamataka, Haveri, Hassan, Bellary, and others have all agreed to join the strike. The collective participation of these entities showcases the widespread concern among the business community regarding the electricity charges issue.

On May 12, the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission approved a significant increase of 70 paise per unit in the fixed and per unit charges. This announcement sparked a political debate, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accusing the new Congress government of fulfilling their electoral promise of free electricity by imposing higher tariffs.

Karnataka's Power Minister, KJ George, responded to these allegations by highlighting the benefits of the Gruha Jyothi scheme. This scheme allows over two crore people in the state to access free electricity, provided their monthly power consumption remains below 200 units. However, for households exceeding the allotted units, additional charges are levied, including a 9% tax component.

George clarified, "If the average power consumption plus 10% falls below 200 units, it will be subsidized. Any usage beyond that threshold will require payment. Consumers exceeding the allotted units will be charged for the additional power consumed, including a 9% tax component."

The Karnataka Bandh called by the KCCI serves as a strong demonstration of the trade and industry sectors' dissatisfaction with the abnormal increase in electricity charges. While business establishments will remain closed during this strike, essential services and vehicle movement will not be affected. The KCCI hopes that the government will take note of their concerns and initiate discussions to find a resolution, ultimately leading to a reduction in electricity charges. The widespread participation and support from various district chambers and industry associations underline the urgency of addressing this issue and ensuring a favorable environment for businesses in Karnataka.

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