After coming under severe criticism for its inaction on revenue recovery from big and influential defaulters, the Power Development Department (PDD) on Friday launched a disconnection drive against revenue defaulters including VVIPs, CRPF camps, media houses, hotels and industries.
Sources told a local news agency, KNS, that electricity supply of over a half dozen CRPF camps, four VVIPS including MLAs, MLCs and MPs in Srinagar city was disconnected by the department, after they failed to pay their long pending bills worth lakhs of rupees.
“There are a number of VVIPs, bureaucrats, senior, middle and lower rank officers who have been found withdrawing electricity through illegal connections at posh Tulsi Bagh, Gupkar and Jawahir Nagar areas. But at Tulsi Bagh the department has started its disconnection drive and it is on job to disconnect installation of VVIPs and bureaucrats residing at Jawahir Nagar and Gupkar,” authentic sources said.
Executive Engineer PDD Srinagar, Mohammad Yousuf Baba, when contacted, said, “We want to give people a peaceful winter as they always complain about prolonged power curtailments during winters. But this possible only when we recover revenue and purchase the required power accordingly.”
Baba informed that various squads have been constituted which will monitor over loading of electricity in Srinagar town.
Sources in the department said that there is a huge annual deficit of Rs 2200 Crores between revenue recovery and power purchases in the state. “There is some Rs 300 Crores annual revenue recovery target in Srinagar town only out of which the department is able to recover below Rs 200 Crores,” well placed sources revealed to KNS.
Senior officers in the department, wishing not to be named said notices have were already issued to the defaulters in Srinagar town asking them to either deposit the default money or else, the power connections would be disconnected.
Sources said that there are various industrial houses in the state which owe PDD bills worth crores of rupees. Many a chances were given to the CRPF camps to liquidate balance electricity charges failing which their installations shall be disconnected without further notice.
The department has now taken a firm stand that electricity supply shall not be resumed unless the defaulters deposit their pending dues.
The Chief Engineer PDD, Bashir Ahmad Khan when contacted told KNS, “We have decided not to succumb to any influence or any pressure vis-à-vis our disconnection drive. We will disconnect electricity supplies of all drawing electricity illegally or not paying their bills.”
He said that the Valley needs only 600 Mega Watts of electricity for evening hours but the department is being compelled to provide 950 Mega Watts electricity supply which means over 300 Mega watts of electricity is being consumed illegally.
“There are many other difficulties including the illegal consumption of electricity in Kashmir which has prompted us to launch the disconnection drive. This drive will continue and will be taken to the whole valley,” the Chief Engineer PDD said.
He admitted that there are crores of rupees as default money pending with different government departments, paramilitary force camps and government residential flats and notices issued to them are ignored.