State govt has no due bill, public consumers owe Rs 298 crore: CE

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IMPHAL, Feb 12: Reacting to negative responses from the public on mass power disconnection drive, the chief engineer of electricity department, N.Sarat has enjoined that the ongoing random power disconnection drive in the state is the first step towards augmenting the existing power supply and not for the deprivation of basic amenities of the people.
Speaking to media-persons today at his office chamber, the chief engineer further stated that various departments of the state government pay their electricity bills regularly and there is no outstanding due bill at present. The state government makes payment as soon the department submits the bill. However, the only concern of the electricity department is to collect the outstanding dues from the public, he said.
As of financial year 2010-11 up to December 2010, the outstanding due bills of public consumers is Rs 309 crore but only Rs 10.30 crore has been collected so far, Sarat noted.
He stated that the public should not interfere with the disconnection drive. The department is very much concerned about the present power condition of the state and the drive will go on until all defaulting and unauthorized consumers are detected.
The authorized power consumers of the state consume only 20 percent of the supplied power while 80 percent of the power gets wasted due to power theft. The only solution to the present erratic power supply is to flush out all unauthorized consumers and collect regular bills from the public, the chief engineer asserted.
He further maintained that the people of the state will soon realize the need for judicious power consumption once the prepaid facility is made available. As for the first phase the prepaid electricity will be launched in Imphal City area very soon, Sarat averred.
Moreover, due bill amount of Rs 7.44 crore has been collected by the electricity department from the month of January onwards.
The power lines of 2330 defaulting consumers have been disconnected so far and 137 cases have also been filed against the unauthorized consumers. Altogether 46 accused persons have been sent to jail on charges of power theft.
Meanwhile, a PIL filed to Gauhati High Court, Imphal Bench, regarding mass power disconnection drive in the state has been dismissed after the petitioner was found to have an overdue electricity bill amount of Rs 73, 000.

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