Major violations by more hotels, industrial units detected; Rs 10 cr penalty imposed

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Aug 16: Continuing with its exclusive drive to unravel the blatant misuse of the electricity by high-end consumers in connivance with the officers of the Power Development Department, the recently constituted Special Enforcement Wing has detected major violations by more hotels and industrial units across the State and imposed penalty worth Rs 10 crore, which will go up considerably following detailed analysis in each and every case of inspection conducted during the past two months.
In order to make surprise inspections a regular affair, the Government is mulling to establish permanent and full-fledged Enforcement Wing in Jammu and Kashmir on the pattern of several other States in the country and a detailed proposal in this regard would be placed before the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah and then State Cabinet for approval.
Authoritative sources told EXCELSIOR that Special Enforcement Wing, which was constituted by making internal adjustments on the directions of Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, has found more hotels, industrial units and other business establishments indulging in power theft by resorting to different means in connivance with the officials of the Power Development Department.
“During the past two months around 100 surprise inspections were carried out and in these cases over Rs 10 crore penalty was imposed on the spot by the Special Enforcement Wing”, they said, adding “the amount of penalty would go up considerably as the Wing is analyzing each and every case of inspection in order to work out penal amount of the period since the violations were going on”.
In Kashmir valley, the latest inspections were conducted in Karan Nagar, Khrew, Rangreth industrial area, Rajbagh, Boulevard, Batmaloo and Zainakote areas while as in Jammu the inspections were conducted in Bantalab, Narwal, Transport Nagar, Samba industrial estate and Katra and large number of high-end consumers were found indulging in using electricity without paying as per the actual consumption and indulging in various violations to tamper with readings on the meters, sources informed.
At Rangreth industrial area, the Special Enforcement Wing unraveled violations by Himalayan Rolling Mill, N D Gases, Boom Installation, Himalayan Paper Industry while as Hotel Hill Star at Boulevard, South Intervention Industrial Unit at Zainakote were found indulging in violations, they said, adding even cement plants at Khrew were found causing loss to the State exchequer in connivance with the officials of the Power Development Department.
In Batmaloo area, the hotels having five to 10 rooms were found having meager registered load despite the fact that their consumption was much high. Similarly, several hotels at Boulevard and medical establishments in Karan Nagar area were found indulging in violations to avoid payment of tariff as per their exact consumption, sources said.
About the inspections in Jammu, they said that out of 96 flats in Parsavnath Mass Housing Colony near Bantalab only 12 were found having legal connections. Even the streetlights and water lift pumps were found operating on illegal connections, they informed, adding “in the industrial area of Samba several major violations by some units were detected and penal action was taken on the spot. The violations were also detected in several establishments at Narwal and Transport Nagar which include Oberoi Service Station and Ajay Food Products etc”.
During surprise inspection in Katra, the Special Enforcement Wing noticed violations in Katra Continental, Devi Grand, Asia Hotel, Hotel Basera, Hotel KC and Hotel Vaishnodevi, sources said.
Responding to a question, sources said that Secretary (Technical) of the Power Development Department, on the instructions of Principal Secretary, Sudhanshu Pandey, has written to all those Divisions where violations have been detected in the surprise inspections during the past two months, for necessary action and subsequent communication to him.
Meanwhile, to make surprise inspections a regular affair, the Government is mulling to establish permanent and full-fledged Enforcement Wing in Jammu and Kashmir on the pattern of several other States in the country.
“Principal Secretary of the Department is collecting information from such States and soon a detailed proposal will be placed before the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah for discussion and thereafter the matter will be taken up with the State Cabinet for final decision”, sources said while informing that in adjoining state of Punjab, Inspector General of Police is heading Special Enforcement Wing and police officers of the rank of Inspector and DySPs are being deputed to the wing to deal with the offences under Electricity Act.
In several States of the country Police Stations and Courts have been designated to exclusively deal with the offences under Electricity Act, sources said while expressing surprise that despite large scale power theft and violations by high-end consumers, which is causing huge loss to the State exchequer, putting in place such a mechanism was never given any serious consideration in the past.

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