Varanasi weavers reeling under high tariffs, says Congress leader

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday wrote to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath about high electricity tariff being charged from the weavers of Varanasi and urged the State government to charge a “flat rate”.

Ms. Vadra also asked the U.P. government to ensure that weavers are not “harassed” in the name of collecting “fake” outstanding bills and urged that power supply be restored for all weavers who were unable to pay their bills.

The letter follows Ms. Vadra’s meeting with a group of around 50 weavers from Varanasi through video conferencing on Monday.

In her letter, the Congress general secretary in-charge of U.P. claimed that Varanasi’s weavers were very “worried and frustrated”.

“The families of the weavers of Banarasi sarees, famous in the whole world, are desperate to make ends meet. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and government policies, the entire business of weavers has been destroyed despite the fact that they have made Uttar Pradesh’s name famous with their craft for ages,” Ms. Vadra said in her letter in Hindi.

“The Uttar Pradesh government should help them in this difficult period,” Ms. Vadra added.

She said the UPA government had implemented a scheme of providing weavers electricity at a flat rate in 2006 but the BJP government has done “injustice” to the weavers by discontinuing that scheme.

According to Ms. Vadra, the weavers said when they held a strike against the arbitrary power bills, officials had assured them that their problems would be looked into but no efforts had been made to solve their problems.

Listing her demands, she wrote, “The scheme to provide electricity to them at flat rate be restored, their “harassment” in the name of “fake” outstanding bills be stopped and their electricity connections should not be cut while the already cut connections be restored. I hope you will take these demands seriously and take constructive steps.”

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