TODAY -
High power tax ? Worry not
Grease the palms of some staff
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, April 26: Can't clear the outstanding power tariff ? Do not worry thanks to the ingenious ploys introduced by some employees of the Electricity Department.

One can get away by paying only half of the tax owed to such employees to line their pockets and ditto ! the pending bills would have been cleared and in the next month one can expect a bill which does not reflect the outstanding bills at all !.

The Sangai Express conducted a special investigation after a conscientious consumer approached this office and gave his part of the story; "My outstanding power tariff was about Rs 7000.Some employees of the Electricity agreed to bail me out, provided I pay them about Rs 4000 or so.

Though I had not yet paid the money they asked, the next time I received the bill, the outstanding amount was shown as only Rs 395". The bill was issued by the Singjamei sub-division of the Electricity Department.

Armed with this information, this reporter along with another colleague from the same establishment approached the Singjamei power sub-division office today posing as consumers and met some officials including the SO and Meter Reader.

Posing as consumers, we asked one employee, "We are from a nearby locality.

The Meter Reader came to our house a few days back and said that outstanding bill is About Rs 10,000.He however offered to set things right, if we pay Rs 2000.Is this possible ?" The employee answered that it could be fixed and asked "Where do you stay (leikai)?" "We are from Mayengbam Leikai," we replied.

The employee then gratuitously said, "The registration process for Mayengbam Leikai will be over in a few days time.

If you wait for one more month, then it can be fixed." The employee further asked the amount of the outstanding power tariff.

"About Rs 10,000," we replied.

The employee then advised that we discuss the matter with the Meter Reader so that the needful may be done.

"Do not tell anything about the matter to the AE.

We can settle this amongst ourselves," another employee advised.

The SO at the sub-division on being asked whether it is right for the Meter Reader to come with a prepared bill and work out the amount without even looking at the meter, the official replied, "If any complaint is lodged then the meter can be repaired.

The bill should be prepared after reading the meter.

Most of the Meter Readers now know how to work out the bill as they have memorised everything".

The per unit cost of power is worked out at Rs 2.60 p.A household which has two/three bulbs is usually charged Rs 130 per month.

If there is no meter reading installed at the house then a sum of Rs 208 is charged per month.

If the number of bulbs being used is quite a lot then the amount charged is not less than Rs 195.The SO further explained that for houses without meter or defunct meter, a sum of Rs 318 is charged per month.

There are some variations in collecting power tax, he added.

There are serious doubts whether all the money collected as taxes actually go into the accounts of the Government or not.

Though the State Government had set a target of collecting Rs 8 crores through the tax drive, it has so far managed to collect only about Rs 1.5 crores.

About Rs 9 crores is spent every month in purchasing power from corporations.

Due to lack of revenue, the State is currently undergoing an acute power shortage.

Serious doubts have also been raised whether the Power Department is charging commercial tax from residences located along the road.

Government employees can draw their salaries only after showing the receipts that they have cleared the power tax.

However there are talks doing the round that this system can also be beaten with the co-operation of some helpful employees.

(The Sangai Express invites our readers and others to report to us if they find any misdemeanour on the part of the Electricity employees.
The identities of the consumers will be kept confidential
).


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