Over 6.24 lakh consumers using electricity without paying penny

Over 6.24 lakh consumers using electricity without paying penny

28 June 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Mohinder Verma

Jammu: In yet another shocking revelation, the State Government has come to know that over 6.24 lakh domestic consumers have been using unaccounted electricity that too without paying any single penny to the Power Development Department (PDD) right under the nose of the officers of the Department. Instead of going touch against such consumers in their areas of responsibility, the officers of the Department have been acting as mute spectator and allowing huge loss to the State exchequer. Official sources told EXCELSIOR that there are 20,15,088 households across the State-10,21,244 in Jammu region and 9,93,844 in Kashmir valley as per the census of 2011 and 17,53,201 (87 per cent) of these households have the facility of electricity. Out of 17,53,201 households having facility of electricity, 11,30,541 are registered consumers of the Power Development Department while as 6,24,461 are unregistered consumers which means they are using electricity without paying even single penny to the Department, sources said, adding 'it is not known as to how much electricity these 6,24,461 unregistered households have been consuming and subsequently causing huge loss to the State exchequer'. Out of 6,24,461 unregistered consumers across the State, 3,39,735 are in Jammu region and 2,34,726 in the Kashmir valley and their percentage in Jammu region is 43.92 while as 29.86 in Kashmir valley, sources informed. In Jammu region, the highest unregistered domestic consumers are in Jammu district where their number is 66,781 followed by Rajouri where their number is 62,470. Poonch district is at number three place with 46,186 unregistered consumers. Similarly, there are 38,040 such consumers in Kathua, 36,572 in Doda, 29,590 in Ramban, 24,923 in Kishtwar, 29,885 in Udhampur, 32,092 in Reasi and 23,195 in Samba districts. In Kashmir valley, the maximum unregistered consumers are in Baramulla district where their number is 40,968 followed by Anantnag with 36,077. Budgam is at number three place with 35,211 unregistered electricity consumers. Similarly, there are 29,287 unregistered consumers in Srinagar, 5,778 in Ganderbal, 10,897 in Bandipora, 33,582 in Kupwara district, 17,970 in Pulwama, 11,236 in Shopian and 8,996 in Kulgam district. 'All these unregistered consumers have been consuming electricity at their own will and whim that too right under the nose of the concerned officers of the Power Development Department', sources said, adding 'it is a matter of serious concern that neither Chief Engineers and Superintending Engineers nor Executive Engineers and subordinate Engineering Staff of the Department bothered to bring such a large number of unregistered consumers under the ambit of registration'. 'In this way, the Department's officers are not only allowing State exchequer to suffer huge loss but also creating electricity crisis for those consumers, who are registered and also to those who have got their connections metered', sources said, adding 'over 6.24 lakh unregistered electricity consumers is also a pointer towards the fact that concerned Executive Engineers, Assistant Executive Engineers or Assistant Engineers are not considering paying visits in their respective jurisdictions to ascertain the situation on ground as part of their official duty'. To a question, sources said, 'it is not possible that field functionaries of the Department are unaware of such a large number of unregistered consumers', adding 'the possibility of field functionaries collecting money from these unregistered consumers in order to allow them to consume electricity cannot be ruled out otherwise what is preventing them from bringing this to the notice of higher-ups is a million dollar question'. Responding to another question, they said, 'if these over 6.24 lakh consumers get registered with the Department and their connections are metered significant improvement can be made with regard to revenue realization and misuse of electricity can be checked up to large extent'.