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State government departments have power dues of over Rs 95 crore

Guwahati: The Assam Power Distribution Corporation Limited (APDCL) has put all efforts to re-energize the department for around-the-clock better service by taking various initiatives including the imposition of fines, lodging police cases, and temporary disconnection of power supply.

But, the state government itself has not paid a huge sum of electricity bills for around the last three years. The government departments altogether have dues of over Rs 95 crore.

As per the information provided by the APDCL, the public health engineering (PHE) department has the highest power dues of over Rs 26 crore followed by the health department (nearly Rs 12 crore), education department (over Rs 7 crore), and home department (over Rs 5 crore).

“The electricity bills have been pending for around the last three years. Several communications have been made with the concerned departments for payment of the bills. But, we could not collect the bills from the government departments as well as the industries, factories, companies, and individuals, who have yet to pay a huge sum of electricity bills,” an APDCL official said.

The official said APDCL has yet to collect around Rs 2,000 crore electricity bills as a whole in the state.

The forest department has not paid electricity bill amounting to over Rs 4.94 crore while the public works department (PWD) has dues over Rs 4.29 crore, irrigation department (Rs 6.39 crore), veterinary department (Rs 2.26 crore), agriculture department (Rs 2.35 crore), panchayat & rural development (Rs 2.08 crore) and judiciary (Rs 2.08 crore).

The total electricity bill of the deputy commissioner offices and the sub-divisional offices of the state has crossed Rs 5 crore. The amount is Rs 5.21 crore. On the other hand, the office of the director-general of police, which comes under the home department, has dues over Rs 3 crore.

However, the APDCL official said that nine departments including the police department of the state government pay their energy bills through the administration department. “The latest figures will be clear in the next few days how much the departments have paid or not,” the official added.

APDCL was incurring a loss of around Rs 300 crore per month since 2018. Non-payment of electricity bills and power theft were the two prime reasons.

A total of 611 cases of power theft were lodged in different police stations in June in the state. Maximum cases were registered in Mangaldai in Darrang district, Lakhimpur, and Nagaon district.

Talking about the temporary disconnection of power supply in hospitals, the APDCL authority said, “The APDCL teams have been asked to move cautiously when it comes to taking steps against hospitals especially at this time of the pandemic. As far as a private hospital is concerned, the hospital had dues over Rs 36 lakh. The hospital has not paid its dues despite several notices being served. This led to the team disconnecting the power supply.”

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Written by Mukut Das

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