MSME (micro small and medium enterprise) associations of Tamil Nadu expressed displeasure and disappointment over the outcome of the meeting that they had with the State’s Industries and MSME Ministers along with other officials on Tuesday.

Scores of MSME associations under the banner of The Tamil Nadu Industrial Electricity Consumers’ Federation held a meeting with T M Anbarasan, State Minister for MSMEs, T R B Raaja, State Industries Minister, and other officials from the government on Tuesday to discuss the challenges faced by the small units due to electricity tariff hikes. This meeting was called for after the suspension of operations for a day on Monday by more than 150 associations across the State to mark their protest against the tariff hike.

However, the meeting with the Ministers and officials ended on an inconclusive note as the government didn’t offer any solution to the issues of the MSMEs except to indicate that they would talk to the Chief Minister and revert. Anbarasan blamed the previous government for the issues faced by the Tangedco.

Members of MSME associations expressed shock that the Ministers and officials didn’t come prepared for the meeting to offer any solutions or countermeasures to address the issues. There was no need to have a meeting to understand the problems.

“This is the most disappointing meeting. The issues of MSMEs have been highlighted extensively even much before their strike on 25th and there was no need to hear them again,” says a member of the Tamil Nadu Industrial Electricity Consumers’ Federation.

The major demands pertaining to tariff hikes of the associations were known to all and the Associations had already made representations to the State government.

“It is also disappointing to learn that the State Minister for Power and Finance and CMD of TANGEDCO were not present. Without their presence, the meeting won’t make sense at all. By this time, the government should have prepared an alternative or counter proposals to MSMEs in order to douse the fire to some extent. So, it is a disappointing meeting especially when the MSME Minister blamed the previous government and the UDAY scheme for the tariff hike which are known reasons given before,” said K E Raghunathan, National President, Association of Indian Entrepreneurs.

Another member of the Tamil Nadu Industrial Electricity Consumers’ Federation said the MSMEs needed oxygen, but the meeting ended with just a small acknowledgment. “There was not even assurance for reduction of the tariff,” he added.