GUWAHATI: A nexus between some officials of the APDCL (Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd) and a section of industries involved in power theft came to the fore. And the APDCL took action from the top. Acting promptly the APDCL relieved an officer of CGM (Chief General Manager) rank from the job and suspended another CGM. It also filed FIRs against two Guwahati-based industries on the charge of power theft.
According to official sources, the APDCL relieved the CGM heading its Vigilance Cell from the job immediately. He is a retired police officer engaged by it on a contractual basis. The APDCL suspended another CGM, besides issuing show-cause notices to two assistant general managers (AGMs), a junior engineer (JE) and a sub-divisional officer (SDO). All these officials, including the two CGMs, were at the helm of affairs in checking power theft.
According to sources, each of the two industries at Boragaon in Guwahati manipulated its transformer by taking a line to the office and another unauthorized line to the factory that consumes a huge amount of power.
Official sources further said that there are many such industries involved in power theft, including a few tea estates in upper Assam. The APDCL is going to crack down on such unscrupulous industries after the corona pandemic.
This is not all. Three CGMs of the APDCL posted to Upper Assam, Lower Assam and Central Assam have all along been working from Guwahati. It asked the three CGMs to go to their respective places of posting – Jorhat, Bongaigaon and Silchar – immediately, besides transferring the entire Senior Vigilance office located at Guwahati to Silchar.
While reviewing the works of the APDCL a few days back, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma talked tough on power theft and said that power theft cases would be allowed to be registered in all police stations across the state instead of a few select ones. The crackdown started after the review meeting held by the Chief Minister.
According to the existing rules, the use of electricity with illegal means leads to punishment with fines as (i) for the usage of ten KW, the fine imposed shall be equal to the three times of financial gains due to the theft of electricity at the first time. During the second time the fine shall be equal to six times the financial gains due to the theft of the electricity, and (ii) At the worst case, the power supply will be disconnected for a period of six months to two years.
Official sources said, the APDCL has a WhatApp number – 9954414969 – for lodging complaints on power theft. The response of the public to the number is good. The raid on the two industries conducted on Thursday was based on such public complaints.