Largescale bunglings in PM's power scheme in Budgam
2 January 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Budgam: Amid claims of meetings after meetings to ensure uninterrupted power supply on the day of Eid-ul-Azha, over two dozen villages have been plunged into total darkness by Power Development Department (PDD) in periphery of district headquarters of Budgam. In 36 hours, power was supplied just for 15 minutes to Mirgunda, Bodina, Nasrullahpora and other villages linked to Receiving Station Budgam. Residents said that their repeated pleas to improve power distribution system in Bemina-Nasrullahpora belt have been falling on the deaf ears of the authorities. They complained that on an average, power was being supplied to these areas in vicinity of Budgam district headquarters for just 2 to 3 hours a day. However, the authorities had now turned insensible and irresponsible to the extent that they had no hesitation in keeping a vast area in total darkness on the day and two nights of Eid. Residents of Galwanpora and Nasrullahpora made a sensational disclosure that on the 'advice' of the officials of Electricity Maintenance Division Budgam, they had collected an amount of Rs 10 Lakh from consumers and purchased as many as 16 transformers from open market. They said that the PDD authorities installed all these transformers, eight each in Nasrullahpora and Galwanpora villages, and efforts were being made to show the same as sub stations from Government acquisition so as to claim the cost of these transformers. Claiming that actually consumers of over 20 villages had been forced to collect private donations and purchase more than 50 transformers of 50 to 250 kv capacity in Budgam district, residents urged State Vigilance Organisation to launch a thorough investigation. They said that they would place the proof of all these unauthorised and illegal private acquisitions before Commissioner of Vigilance Dr Ashok Bhan. Consumers in Dafpora village lamented that Budgam Division had committed largescale bunglings in implementation of APDRP for which funds had been provided from Prime Minister's special package. They said that with the fudged claim of 198 sub station creations, Budgam Division had selectively picked up only those villages where consumers had collected huge amounts of money and paid the same to concerned officials. To quote the instance of Dafpora, they said that the village had figured at serial No 10 of the annual works programme of year 2005-06 but it had been completely left out for two years now as the residents refused to collect money for the PDD officials. On the other hand, only one transformer figured for Zanigam Beerwah, at the fag end of the plan, but four sub stations were created in that village. Residents of Magam alleged that complete violation of guidelines had been adopted by Electricity Maintenance Division Budgam in selecting villages for fresh creations under APDRP scheme. They pointed out that on the recommendations of a former SE of the department, a sub station of 250 kv was provided to just 10 residential units in Mazhama Bachipora. According to them, guidelines were clear that fresh sub stations had to be provided to villages of 50% extra load over the existing transformers. While 100% renovation was supposed to be done in villages selected for the scheme, only partial augmentation and improvement was glaring in all the villages chosen for APDRP. Residents urged the Central authorities to release funds to Budgam division only after verifying the utilisation certificates issued by the officials. Residents in Budgam peripheries pointed out that 'in brazen violation of rules and guidelines' uninterrupted essential service supplies were being provided to all Government offices, residences of unauthorised officials, complete Sector-12 headquarters of Rashtriya Rifles and residences of some political activists and PDD officials. Inspite of being unmetered, supplies were being provided to this 'privileged lot' on 24x7 basis. Consumers in Sholipora-Soibug belt pointed out that uninterrupted supplies were also available through special lines to over 25 unauthorised and unlicensed sawmills and rice huskers as the owners had installed high capacity private transformers and the officials were collecting bribes ranging between Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 a month from all individual unit holders. While the higher authorities did not respond to phone calls, Executive Engineer Electricity Maintenance Division Budgam, Mr A G Itoo, told the EXCELSIOR that he had lately joined his place of posting and was not aware of such irregularities. He said that he would look into the matter. Officials of State Vigilance Organisation advised the residents to come forward with a written and detailed complaint. They, however, asserted that they would begin the preliminary inquiry while checking whether residents of Nasrullapora and Galwanpora villages had been forced to collect donations worth Rs 10 Lakh for purchasing 16 transformers from open market. Residents of the two villages admitted that they were neither receiving any bills nor paying any amounts on account of official bills as the PDD officials, according to them, were not making them payment of the 16 transformers purchased by the residents privately and duly installed by the PDD officials.