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Maharashtra, Goa wooing Karnataka industries hit by steep power tariff hikes

Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi Neighbouring Maharashtra and Goa are trying to fish in the troubled industrial waters of Karnataka, where industries are protesting the steep hikes in power tariffs that are cripppling the small, and medium industries. Maharashtra and Goa administration has begun sending feelers to industrialists in border areas with offers of cheaper power and […]

Edited By : Lakshmana | Updated: Jun 27, 2023 14:12 IST
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Karnataka Industries
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Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi

Neighbouring Maharashtra and Goa are trying to fish in the troubled industrial waters of Karnataka, where industries are protesting the steep hikes in power tariffs that are cripppling the small, and medium industries.

Maharashtra and Goa administration has begun sending feelers to industrialists in border areas with offers of cheaper power and other benefits to lure the units to set shop across the borders.

“Maharashtra is just 13 km from where I sit in Belagavi, but shifting an industry just like that is not easy. Besides, I am too much of a Belagavite to even think of going across the border,” said Hemendra Porwal, President of Belagavi Chamber of Commerce and Industry confirming that some fellow entrepreneurs are getting feelers.

“But such feelers are always there, and Maharashtra and Goa have been inviting us (industrialists here) for many many years,” he said and added “they also keep following up on their invites, and renewed efforts.” Renewed invites are nothing but natural competitive activity among the states, as each state would want industries and jobs to be created there.

Not much should be read into the latest  initiatives from across the border, the BCCI official said but added, “If things continue to be unfavourable, and Belgaum does not get the infrastructure and development it should, then surely some people may do a re-think.” Look at Kolhapur and the kind of facilities and infrastructure it has for industries, Porwal said and felt Karnataka government must give due importance to developing infrastructure in all parts of the state.

Economists sure do lament about regional imbalances in the state’s economic development and say sooner this issue is addressed the better.

For, businessmen and entrepreneur, will surely look for other options if they were compelled.

The Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry, FKCCI, that is not participating in the bandh wants to give the government time to sort out the mess. “I don’t think any industries will shift out of the state, and if anyone made such statements, they could at best be ones made in the heat of the moment,” said B Vijay Kumar of FKCCI.

And anyway, people from Karnataka own units in Hosur in Tamil Nadu and across the border on Maharashtra side as well.

On the power tariff situation, industry bodies in the state have been both lobbying with the state government and protesting out on the streets, demanding the roll back of the steep hikes that are making it difficult to run industries in the state.

There is a sentiment amongst a section of the industrialists that the power tariff hike was resorted to garner funds to finance subsidies to farmers and households of free power to households and farmers.

Chief Minister S Siddaramaiah has already ruled out any revision of power tariff was being demanded.

“The government is aware of industry’s plight, and we will make efforts to win their confidence,” the Chief Minister said on Sunday.

Unimpressed, industry bodies gave a call for bandh yesterday and it was observed in several parts of the state, including North Karnataka where people took out marches as well.

The bandh call was given by Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry and joined by chambers from different regions. Industrial units in Hubbali and Dharwad wore a deserted look, reports from the region said. Protesters in Hubbali said steep hike will make it difficult to run industries.

First published on: Jun 27, 2023 02:12 PM IST

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