Manipur Electricity dept collects Rs 2.36 lakhs on first day drive; arrest 16 for power theft

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IMPHAL, Jan 24: As announced earlier by the chief engineer of state electricity department to launch stern drive against power theft in view of augmenting the existing power supply in the state, 16 persons have been arrested by the police today on charges of power theft during massive drive conducted by the electricity department at various areas in Imphal.
The electricity department conducted the drive under the division of IED-II, IED-III and IMD which encompassed areas of Nagamapal, Lalambung Makhong, Uripok Khaidem Leikai, Keishamapt Thiyam Leikai, Yaiskul Police Lane and Khurai Sajor Leikai Chaithabi Leirak.
Altogether 45 unauthorized power consumers were detected during the massive drive, out of which 16 persons have been arrested while the rest of 29 persons have been served notice to report to the concerned police station.
The arrested persons have been booked for criminal act of power theft which is both cognizable and non-bailable under the Electricity Act, 2003 and its amendment of 2007. A special court of electricity comprising of two session judges will handle the cases related to power.
Moreover, the power lines of 89 regular consumers were also disconnected for non-payment of overdue bills for more than three months. The department has also collected an amount of Rs 2, 36, 045 today on spot bill collection from the consumers of three divisions.
Speaking to mediapersons this afternoon, the chief engineer of state electricity department, N. Sarat stated that the department is committed to provide more power to the consumers by cutting down the percentage of power loss as a result of theft and inculcating the public a sense of paying electricity bill.
The electricity department has launched the massive drive to check unauthorized power consumers and disconnect those regular consumers who no longer pay bills, he said.
Sarat further maintained that the department will promptly act upon the defaulters under the provision of the Electricity Act to ensure adequate power supply in the state. The department will also fix power meters for all consumers to ensure commensurate billing which will enhance the existing power condition of the state.
The chief engineer further appealed to the people to render utmost help and support to the department while conducting the massive drive against power theft, and also appealed the public to bear the inconveniences for some more time until the completion of the massive drive.
On the other hand, many people felt that the state electricity department has acted promptly following the issuance of notice of motion by the Gauhati High Court, Imphal Bench, in connection with the PIL filed by three individuals, namely Pradip Phanjoubam, the editor of Imphal Free Press, Prof. Amar Yumnam of Manipur University and Prof. Angomcha Bimol Akoijam of Jawaharlal Nehru University, regarding the erratic power supply in the state.
Most interestingly, the chief engineer had cited power theft as the major factor for about 70 percent of power loss resulting in poor power supply in the state. He also made it clear that the existing power condition can be augmented only if the percentage of power loss is reduced to about 40 percent and he had also affirmed that the Electricity Act will be very much helpful in checking power theft in the state.

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