‘Posh areas, high profile dignitaries guilty of major power theft’

SRINAGAR: Not to talk of the poor, the most of the power sto­len by domestic consumers in Srinagar city occurs in the me­tered posh areas.

Sources in the Power develop­ment department told KNS that it was surprising to know that those who resort to hooking most­ly were from well-off families and even some high profile dignitar­ies in the Srinagar city.

“We have collected ample evi­dence against power thieves. If they won’t stop, we will be com­pelled to make their names pub­lic,” a source in PDD said instead not to be named.

Amid public outcry over long and frequent power cuts, Power Development Department (PDD) had decided to book people found guilty of power theft. “The government had decided to book the offenders under the J&K State Electricity Regularity Act (JKSERA) of 2010, which pro­vides provision of legal action against those who misuse the electricity and resort to theft. The offenders can face imprison­ment of up to five years and fine.

The State Vigilance Commis­sion (SVC) had also directed the government to register criminal cases against those engaged in power theft.

Sources said that the power stealing by consumers occurs in posh colonies like Rajbagh, Peerbag, Hyderpora, Hum­hama, Bemina, Jawharnagar, Radio colony, Airport road, and other posh areas of the city.

However sources said that the PDD field inspectors and linemen are reluctant to dis­close names of the high-profile power thieves.

“There has been a spurt in the installation of heating sys­tems in these areas. Since con­sumers are concerned about in­creased power bills, they often bypass the meters and resort to power theft. We have over the years caught several such peo­ple,” a senior PDD official said instead not to be named.

He said that power theft is also being reported in industrial hubs, unauthorized colonies, some rural parts. “I can say that all this is costing the state govern­ment a big sum as a result,”

Sources said that the govern­ment has directed the PDP de­partment to target the posh colo­nies and industrial areas to check pilferage of electricity in the city. “For some time we will focus on posh colonies, guesthouses and industrial units rather than slums and resettlement colo­nies,” said senior officials of PDD.

Referring to the details col­lected by them, the officials said these indicated that the volume of power theft was much more in the posh colo­nies rather than in the lower and middle class colonies.

He said that though the resi­dents of these posh colonies declare that they use only one heating system, but they at times have been found using four to five. “This overloads the system and deprives others of powers. These things will be checked now,” the official main­tained. (KNS)

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