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Penal action, huge fines proposed:Govt goes hammer and tongs against power thieves

Srinagar, Jan 17: Beware consumers! If you are caught stealing power, you may have to face penal action and shell-out huge fines.

Official documents accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveal that the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, has directed all district development commissioners, Managing Director and chief engineers of J&K State Power Trading Corporation Limited (JKSPTC) to activate inspection teams and task force to curb the menace of power theft.

 

“DCs, SSPs of all districts shall provide necessary magistrates and police personnel along with lady constables to the enforcement teams and task force teams. The violators shall be booked under relevant rules,” read the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir directives.

An official at Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir office, said government has told JKSPTC that it should generate its own resources and not remain dependent on the financial support.

“As PDD has been reconstituted into JKSPTC, it has to create its own revenue model. Stopping power theft is one of the measures that will make JKSPTC viable,” he said.

The official said that JKSPTC has sought police protection for its field staff to stop power thefts. “This issue was raised with higher authorities that JKSPTC can’t go to areas during night hours. Many a times they have to face public wrath,” he said. 

Taking note, government has asked the police department to provide assistance to JKSPTC in stopping power thefts in Kashmir.

Past experience shows that fines have not deterred people from stealing power and therefore government has decided to act tough to curb the menace. “So it has been decided to file cases against those who often resort to power thefts,” he said.

The department has formed various teams to conduct inspections during nights in order to stop pilferage. “All those who resort to power pilferage will be heavily fined. Besides FIRs will also be lodged where power theft grossly take place,” the official said.

Officially there is an agreement of 800 megawatts, but the demand reaches 2000 megawatts during winters.

“We owe money to National Hydro Electric Power Corporation and J&K Power Development Corporation.  Each year, there is around Rs 3000 crore revenue gap. Therefore government has directed JKSPTC to stop power thefts,” the official said.

Another top official said JKSPTC may borrow loans from banks to clear liabilities. “The Corporation is no more longer dependent on exchequer. It has to create its own resources,” he said.

He said there is also a liability of Rs 26 crores of private entrepreneurs on account of repairs of transformers.