Penalty for power defaulters on the card
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 31: To punish and impose penalties against consumers who fail to clear their power tariff, the Government of India has introduced an Act to deal with the situation, said Power Minister Phungzathang Tonsing on the floor of the House today.

Replying to questions raised during the deliberations for passing Power Department's Rs 200,82,39,000 and Rs 4,92,72,000 for Science and Technology, the Power Minister said that to give more teeth to tax collection drive and enforce the Act, the Centre is weighing the option of appointing a judge equivalent to the status of a CJM.

When the appointment of the judge is finalized, consumers unwilling to clear the pending electricity bills would be compelled to pay up to avoid punishment/penalties, observed the Minister.

Electricity Department has begun implementing the tax collection and disconnection of defaulters' power line through cooperation of NGOs and local club volunteers, he said.

The Minister also announced that electronic energy metre capable of disconnecting power lines of defaulters from the Department office itself as done in case of telephone subscribers has arrived and exuded confidence that once the equipment is installed power tax collection could be augmented.

Acknowledging the charges of the Opposition members that there is no long term planning, Phungzathang stated that due lack of visionary planning; development work programme of the Dept has been hampered to a great extent but hastened to add that the process are underway to rectify the planning flaws for expeditious implementation of development activities.

Besides asserting that 300 new transformers and several electric poles have arrived and efforts are on to ensure adequate conductor wires, the Power Minister said steps would be taken to reduce loss of power during transmission.

Citing power theft as the main factor for the continuing load shedding, he expressed confidence that when consumers realize their responsibilities to pay their taxes the problem of load shedding can be eradicated.

On the Loktak Downstream Project, Phungzathang said that once the project is commissioned power situation would improve tremendously.

Under NEC funding State Govt has taken steps to convert the 20 megawatt power sub-stations into 40 megawatt each to meet the increasing demand of power in the State, he added.

On the up-coming power projects, the Minister commented that 33 KV power sub-stations each would be installed at Rengpang, Tamei, Tousem, Maram, Moreh and Chingai on trunk basis.

Putting estimate cost for laying underground power cable at Greater Imphal areas at Rs 170 crores, he said Govt of India has been consulted to expedite the works.

Remarking that tender for purchasing wooden metre box was floated according to regulations, Phungzathang said total cost of acquiring the items would be Rs 16,17,560.During deliberation of Science and Technology Department, Minister Manga Vaiphei said construction work is nearing completion for building a Sub-Regional Science Centre at Takyelpat likely to cost around Rs two lakhs at Centre-State share ratio of 90:10.The building will have facilities to store scientific models besides holding seminars and workshops; he said adding that Community Information Centres have been opened at 33 blocks of the State with August earmarked for opening websites of the Centres.

State Government is also setting target of commissioning Software Technology Park at Mantripukhri by Nov/Dec, 2003.During deliberation of the Power Department opposition members expressing dissatisfaction at the Department activities insisted on conducting checks at the store to ascertain whether the said number of metre boxes have been supplied.

MLA O Joy desired early completion of Loktak Downstream Project; proper planning of materials while expressing doubt on genuineness of TR issued during power tax collection and demanded that power sector be privatized to augment revenues.

MLA M Bhorot mooted that as practised against Government employees whose salaries are held back until electricity dues are cleared action be initiated against defaulting Government departments by disconnecting the power lines.

MLA L Ibomcha desired that flying squads be deployed to disconnect unauthorized power line.