Judges For I/E, I/W, Two PPAs Appointed, Dept To Wield 2003 Electricity Act, Power Dept Rolls Up Sleeves For Crackdown

Tough call as linemen have to decide which ones are genuine customers. Image Credit: Sangai Photo.

IMPHAL, Jan 21: A day after a Division Bench of the Gauhati High Court issued a notice of motion returnable within four weeks to the Government of Manipur for erratic power supply to the genuine and authorized consumers, the State Electricity Department has suddenly decided to talk and act tough against defaulting consumers.

Talking to media persons today in his office chamber today evening, Chief Engineer of Electricity Department, N Sarat informed that starting from January 24, a mass drive for taking up action against the consumers who have not cleared their outstanding power tariff under the 2003 Electricity Act 2007 (Amendment), will be launched. The action may include jail term for the defaulting consumers.

The court had issued the notice of motion to the Government acting on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed jointly by Professor Dr Amar Yumnam of Manipur University, Associate Professor Dr Angomcha Bimol Akoijam of JNU, Delhi and editor of Imphal Free Press Pradip Phanjoubam.

Talking to media persons at his office chamber today evening, Sarat, however, clarified that the initiatives that the Electricity Department has taken up has got nothing to with the Court notice.

He explained that erratic power supply in Manipur is due to having only 75 to 80 percent in the Aggregate Technical and Commercial Load. This is because of existence of a large number of unauthorized consumers and outstanding power tariff.

If the current load of 75 to 80 percent can be reduced to 50 to 40 percent, then the power supply situation can be improved and regular customers would enjoy uninterrupted power supply, the Chief Engineer assured, while stressing on the need for initiating action against unauthorized and defaulting consumers.

Stating that 2003 Electricity Act 2007 (Amendment) is an Act applicable all over India, the Chief Engineer explained that implementation of the Act in Manipur was delayed all these years on account of delay in appointment of  the required judges.

But now, the judges for the courts in respect of Imphal East and West district have been appointed on January 15. Along with that two PPAs have also been appointed. In the implementation of the Act, the Police have also assured their assistance to the Department, he disclosed.

In accordance with the provisions of this Act, the power line of a consumer who has not cleared his /her due power tariff for three consecutive months may be disconnected automatically, he further disclosed, adding that action against unauthorized consumers as well as against those tampering the power meters   may increase the duration of power supply from the current 3 hours to 7/8 hours in a day.

The proposed drive to be launched from January 24 would be a massive one. It may cause some inconveniences to the people. But they should bear with it in public interest, the Chief Engineer appealed.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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