Me­tre-tam­per­ing: Two pri­vate em­ploy­ees, con­sumers booked

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - PUNJAB HINDUSTANTIMES - Harvin­der Kaur

TEAM HAD IDEN­TI­FIED 26 CASES OF METREREADING CON­CEAL­MENT AMOUNT­ING TO SWINDLING OF TO­TAL AR­REARS OF ₹15 LAKH

JALANDHAR: In case of con­ceal­ing the right me­tre read­ings and car­ry­ing the wrong read­ings at a large scale by unau­tho­rised me­tre read­ers in Jalandhar can­ton­ment, the po­lice have reg­is­tered a first in­for­ma­tion re­port (FIR) against two pri­vate em­ploy­ees of the out­sourced firm and uniden­ti­fied power con­sumers in three lo­cal colonies.

The is­sue was high­lighted by HT in Au­gust. The mat­ter came to light af­ter Pun­jab State Power Cor­po­ra­tion Lim­ited (PSPCL) en­force­ment wing car­ried out a raid in few res­i­den­tial ar­eas of can­ton­ment sub -ur­ban area af­ter re­ceiv­ing com­plaints from dif­fer­ent chan­nels. The four res­i­den­tial ar­eas that were in­spected by the PSPCL team are Deep Na­gar, Beant Na­gar, Rama Mandi and Old Phag­wara Road site. All the do­mes­tic con­nec­tions were in the range of 15-20 kilo­watt (KW).

As many as 1,400 elec­tric me­tres in­stalled in the res­i­den­tial premises were checked by the team dur­ing a week-long in­spec­tion. The team has iden­ti­fied 26 cases of me­tre-read­ing con­ceal­ment which amounts to the to­tal ar­rears of around ₹15.63 lakh.

“PSPCL has faced a huge rev­enue loss due to wrong me­ter­ing and con­ceal­ment of me­tre read­ings as the me­tres were de­lib­er­ately burnt. Many in­stances of de­stroy­ing the me­tres to make them un­read­able also came to the fore­front,” men­tioned FIR.

Of­fi­cials said that the con­ceal­ment of cor­rect me­tre read­ing var­ied from 2,000 units to 20,000 units. It is to be men­tioned that the cur­rent cost of 20,000 units utilised by the do­mes­tic con­sumers is around ₹1.5 lakh.

The PSPCL had out­sourced Hy­der­abad- based M/S Cosyn Ltd to carry out the me­tre read­ing work in the Jalandhar Can­ton­ment area. In its week-long in­spec­tion, en­force­ment depart­ment has said. “The un­eth­i­cal prac­tice is be­ing car­ried out to ben­e­fit cer­tain con­sumers dur­ing the peak sum­mer sea­son when the power con­sump­tion is the all­time high.”

Of­fi­cials added that some of the me­tres, par­tic­u­larly in­stalled in the premises, did not even match the ones up­loaded in the sys­tem of power depart­ment. For in­stance, where the ac­tual me­tre read­ing was 44,369 units, but recorded read­ing was 44,433.

“can­ton­ment Ex­cec­u­tive en­gi­neer has been con­duct­ing an in­quiry into the mat­ter and an FIR has al­ready been reg­is­tered against the out­sourced em­ploy­ees. In case any PSPCL staff is found in­volved in the case, the depart­ment will take stern ac­tion against him,” said­devin­der Singh Ti­wana. chief en­gi­neer, PSPCL north zone.

The case has been reg­is­tered un­der the Sec­tions 409 (crim­i­nal breach of trust by a pub­lic ser­vant or agent), 420 (cheat­ing), 120-B (pun­ish­ment of crim­i­nal con­spir­acy), 379 (pun­ish­ment for theft) of the In­dian Pe­nal Code in Rama Mandi po­lice sta­tion against a me­tre reader, a su­per­vi­sor and uniden­ti­fied con­sumers in the power theft and tam­per­ing case.

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