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PDD stops metering; huge loss to exchequer
Yr on, procurement of meters delayed on 'flimsy' grounds
3/17/2016 11:50:43 PM
Early Times Report
srinagar, Mar 17: The Government is losing crores as the Power Development Department (PDD) has stopped metering of over one lakh connections in the State.
Sources said as a part of the State-wide program to install meters on the commercial and the domestic connections in the urban areas, the State Electricity Regulatory Board (SERB) had directed the PDD to complete metering of the connections without any further delay.
The work of procurement of meters was subsequently assigned to the Procurement and Material Management (PMM) wing of the PDD. However instead of procuring the meters, the PMM has even failed to finalize the tendering process.
Sources said the Chief Engineer PMM has been unable to finalize the process for reasons "best known to him." He is understood to have canceled the bids made in the previous tenders and announced a fresh tendering.
Insiders accused him of creating undue hurdles in the tendering thereby making the State exchequer suffer unwanted losses, which run into crores of rupees. "There needs to be a probe as to why the much-needed metering has been taken hostage in the name of tendering. The State Accountability Commission must take note of this negligence on the part of the concerned," the insiders said, adding a letter has been shot to the SAC in this regard.
Sources said the PMM officials were not satisfied with the technical specifications of meters given by the bidders. "The retendering seems to be an ego problem with the PDD Babus as otherwise such meters are already installed in the Valley and are working to its optimum," the sources said.
They said the PMM was confusing the meters installed in the year 2000 with those which were installed after 2007. "The meters installed by the then Abdullah regime were a scam it itself as they didn't operate during winter months when sub zero conditions are witnessed in Kashmir. This means the meters helped the consumers to pay nothing more than the flat rate for the months when they actually consumed many times more power," the sources said.
They said the problem was subsequently overcome by the Peoples Democratic Party -Congress regime when the then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed directed the PDD to install meters which were compatible with the sub-zero conditions.
Subsequently, fresh meters were installed in the areas of Srinagar where the Abdullah regime had already done the faulty metering. "But now that this technical issue stands solved for years, the PDD has some hidden agenda to delay opening of tenders and assign contract. May be they are working at the hands of hidden forces, who have vested interests in the deal," said a top PDD official requesting not to be named.
The PDD has already come under fire from the SERC in installation of meters. SERC observes that the Government had violated its own directives on metering, actually scheduled to be completed by 2010. Subsequently 2013 was fixed as the new deadline. But then the Omar Abdullah Government failed to meet the deadline.
The SERC maintains that the delay in the metering was telling upon the revenue generation from power sector. "Presently such consumers only pay a flat rate which is even not peanuts as compared to the amount of electricity they use," said a senior official in the SERC, adding that the matter was being picked up with Governor NN Vohra.
The PDD officials, however, deny the allegations. They said procurement of the meters had to be halted due to orders issued by the General Administrative Department. "Fresh tenders have been floated and the metering will be resumed soon," the officials said.
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