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10 % increase in domestic, agri connections; 15 % for industries
SERC approves hike in power tariff for FY11-12

By Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Oct 7: State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) has approved hike in the power tariff across all sections of consumers for the current financial year with 10 per cent increase for the domestic and agricultural connections, 20 per cent for non-domestic/ commercial connections and 15 per cent for industrial connections.

The approved hike is against the average tariff hike of 41 per cent proposed by the Power Development Department in the tariff revision petition filed before the Regulatory Commission on the ground that such a hike was necessary for reducing or partially bridging the existing revenue gap.

Due to delay in the filing of tariff petition, which as per Regulation 47 of JKSERC (Conduct of Business Regulations) Act, 2005 was required to be filed by the Power Development Department by November 30, 2010 for the determination of tariff for the financial year 2011-12, the Commission has not given any retrospective effect to the applicability of the new tariff and the same has been made applicable only from October 1, 2011, an order issued by the SERC said.

As far as domestic category of consumers is concerned, the Power Development Department, in its tariff petition, had proposed an overall increase of around 40 per cent. In the metered category, increase in the energy charges as well as minimum charges was proposed by the Department.

The proposed hike in the energy charges for the metered domestic consumers was nearly 40 per cent in comparison to the existing tariffs in each of the slabs while as the proposed hike in the minimum charges for the metered domestic consumers was in three slabs of 167 %, 180 % and 150 %.

In the flat rate tariffs for the domestic category, PDD had proposed a tariff hike of 85 per cent for connections with connected load of up to ¼ KW and nearly 32 % (on an average) for the remaining slabs/ loads.

However, the SERC observed the proposed tariff hike in the various slabs of metered consumers vis-à-vis that of unmetered consumers as indicative of PDD’s reluctance of moving to a system of 100 per cent metering.

With these observations, the SERC has approved increase of 10 per cent in the energy charges for metered domestic consumers across the State. In order to discourage Flat Rate tariffs and to encourage consumers to shift on to the metered connection and billing regime, the Commission has approved 18 % hike in various slabs for the domestic consumers without metered connections.

As far as non-domestic/ commercial supply is concerned, the Commission has approved an increase of 20 per cent for the metered connections as against around 58 % to 60 % proposed by the PDD. In order to encourage metering in this category also, the Commission has effected hike of 25 % for the non-metered non-domestic and commercial supply connections.

Shops, showrooms, business houses, offices, educational institutions, clubs, hotels, cinemas, hospitals, dispensaries, clinics, nursing homes, X-ray units, diagnostic centers, pathological labs, dairy, hatcheries, printing presses, internet cafes, STD/ ISD PCO’s, FAX/ photocopy shops, tailoring shops and photo studios etc are covered under non-domestic and commercial supply connections category.

About the agricultural sector, the Commission has fixed applicability of the tariff to agricultural loads and lift irrigation connections including threshers. In the sector, the PDD had proposed an increase of 27 % to 30 % in energy charges and 20 % and 22 % in the minimum charges for the metered agricultural consumers besides an increase of 23 % and 22 % in the flat rate charges.

However, the Commission has ordered an increase of 10 % in the energy charges for metered consumers. It has not approved any hike in the minimum charges for the metered consumers in this category.

But in order to discourage Flat Rate tariffs and to encourage consumers to shift on to the metered connection and billing regime, the Commission has approved tariff increase of nearly 18 % in all the slabs in the Flat Rate tariff for the agricultural consumers.

As far as State/ Central Government Departments are concerned, the Commission has effected an increase of 18 per cent in the energy charges and fixed charges. This will include connections taken for agricultural purposes, water pumping and street lighting by the State Government Departments, the order of SERC said.

The Commission has decided that LT industrial supply will be applicable to all the units registered with the Industries and Commerce Department and covered under the Factories Act. The list of entities covered included various industrial installations and workshops with manufacturing facilities, where raw materials are converted to finished goods.

The PDD had proposed an increase of 74 % in the energy charges and 71% in the fixed charges in the tariff for the metered consumers under this tariff category. However, the Commission has approved a hike of 15 % in energy charges and demand charges for this category.

For HT industrial supply, an increase of 15 % for the 11 KV and 33 KV consumers has been approved on the applicable energy charges and demand charges for supply at all voltage levels in the category. a

'NC never sold Ministries, seats'
Won't succumb to enemies, will do my job: Omar

SRINAGAR, Oct 7: "I will not succumb to my critics and enemies and I am damn well going to do my job," a combative J and K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah declared tonight.

Even as the controversy surrounding the death of his party, National Conference (NC), worker showed no signs of abating, Omar ruled out his resignation as demanded by the opposition PDP.

"I will do the job I have to do until I have the opportunity to do it. And that is it," the Chief Minister told here.

He did not regret getting involved in the matter in which two NC workers had complained that another party member Haji Syed Yusuf had taken over ` one crore from them for getting them membership of the legislative council. He had handed over all the three to the police after which Yusuf had died.

"I did the right thing. Aside from being a Chief Minister, I am also a past President of the party and have an obligation to try and root out corruption within the party or anywhere else when things are brought to my notice," he said.

"I took cognisance of the allegation and instead of trying to deal with it in an underhand manner, I dealt with it in most transparent manner and handed over the case to the police," Omar said.

The Chief Minister said that he wanted to expedite an inquiry into the episode by a sitting judge of the High Court and the Government was in correspondence with the Chief Justice.

The Chief Minister acknowledged that there is "something seriously wrong" when two NC workers believe that they can get what they want by paying money.

"The NC has never been a party that has sold seats or Ministries. God knows that we don’t need to...We do need to go in for some soul searching.

"We will do that but right now our focus has to ensure that truth prevails and true circumstances, and not fictions around Yusuf’s death are allowed to come out," Omar said.

Asked if he had been in touch with the leadership of his coalition partner, Congress, he replied in the negative but went on to say that he had seen some statements from various Congress leaders including their national spokesman (who has supported him).

"My contacts are with Congress Ministers, my coalition partners. They are my Ministers. That is it. I will not be distracted from that," he added.

Lashing out at sections of the media for manner in which they were covering the controversy, Omar said "fictitious stories and lies that are being presented in the media is something I don’t understand."

He added, "where they believe that I have done something wrong, by all means criticise me. Last year when trouble was there, almost every section of media criticised me and rightly so this year I don’t understand." (PTI)

‘Student was HM comdr Junaid Malik’s brother’
Kishtwar Medico arrested for Delhi blast

By Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Oct 7: In third major arrest in Delhi High Court blast, made exactly after a month of investigations, the National Investigating Agency (NIA) today arrested a Medical student of Kishtwar, who was pursuing studies at Dhaka, Bangladesh from New Delhi soon after he alighted from a flight at IGI airport in the capital.

Wasim Akram Malik son of Reyaz-ul-Hassan Malik, Private Secretary to Chief Engineer of National Hydro-electric Power Corporation (NHPC), originally a resident of Bani but presently settled at Giri Nagar, Dugga in Kishtwar, was arrested following clues gathered during investigations by the NIA that he was a key conspirator in the blast along with his brother, Junaid Akram Malik, a commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, who was absconding.

Official sources told the Excelsior that Malik brothers (both Wasim and Junaid) have turned out to be major accused in the blast outside Delhi High Court on September 7 that killed 15 persons and injured over 80 others.

Wasim was studying Unani Medicines in a private college at Dhaka, Bangladesh for last four years and was reported to have paid a visit to New Delhi and Kishtwar during which a conspiracy to execute the terror attack was hatched. Wasim was said to be in touch with the militants of both Harkat-ul-Jehad Islami (HuJI), headquartered at Bangladesh and Hizbul Mujahideen from Pakistan, who were frequent visitors to Dhaka.

Sources said Junaid Akram Malik was also in touch with Hizbul Mujahideen militants based in Pakistan from Kishtwar after he was given the rank of commander by the outfit. Malik was reported to have transported explosives and other infrastructure to New Delhi from Kishtwar for fabricating and planting the IED with the help of his brother, Wasim and some other associates.

Junaid was the major link in the blast, who was missing. While Intelligence agencies believed that Junaid could be hiding in inaccessible heights of Kishtwar after executing the blast, some agencies indicated that he might have left Kishtwar and proceeded to the Kashmir valley in some safe hideouts.

The NIA teams had recently quizzed Azhar Ali, a supplier of SIM cards to militants including Junaid Malik, Hafiz Aamir Abbas Dev and Abid Hussain in high security Kot Bhalwal jail and Jehangir Bhatt alias Chacha of Saroor, Kishtwar. Though Azhar and Chacha might not be linked to the blast, they were well known to Malik brothers. Junaid, in fact, was driven from his father’s Bhatindi residence in Jammu to Kishtwar in a TATA Sumo by Azhar in a Scorpio for which Hizbul militant, Aamir Kamal’s mother had made payment.

Azhar had handed over Junaid to Chacha, who had taken him to Kishtwar’s heights for arms training. An attempt was made by Junaid’s family to win over him back into normal life but the efforts didn’t materialize and soon Junaid joined top hierarchy of the HM outfit.

Junaid was reported to have executed the blast outside Delhi High Court at the behest of his outfit’s commanders based in Pakistan and PoK. For the purpose, he had taken the services of his brother Wasim Akram, who was taken on 14 days remand by the NIA today from Special NIA Judge HS Sharma in New Delhi.

Sources said either it was Junaid, who transported explosives to New Delhi from Kishtwar or the material could have been fabricated at New Delhi and planted outside the High Court by Wasim Akram when he was in India. Wasim was reported to have returned to Dhaka after the blast while there was no trace of Junaid.

Junaid was reported to have been very tactfully called to New Delhi from Dhaka by the NIA with the help of some of his family members, sources said declining to elaborate. He was arrested as soon as he landed at the IGI Airport from Dhaka, where he was studying Unani Medicines for last more than four years.

Wasim had fallen into trap of the militants in Dhaka, the headquarters of HuJI and frequented by Hizbul Mujahideen cadre from Pakistan. Dhaka-West Bengal-New Delhi route is also being used by the militants quite often to travel to this side or smuggle weapons and fake currency.

Soon after his arrest, the NIA today produced Wasim Akram before Special NIA Judge HS Sharma in New Delhi. The court granted Wasim to 14 days NIA custody for interrogation to ascertain details about the Delhi blast.

Wasim Akram was third student of Kishtwar to be arrested in connection with the Delhi blast. Prior to him, NIA had arrested Hafiz Aamir Abbas Dev, a BA Part-I student from Moulana Azad National University Hyderabad’s Kishtwar Study Centre and Abid Hussain, an 11th class student of Islamia Faridia higher secondary school, Kishtwar.

While Dev was linked to the blast, Abid had sent terror email to two national English news channels from Global Cyber Café on September 7 afternoon few hours after the blast claiming responsibility for it on behalf of HuJI outfit.

Azhar Ali was interrogated in Kot Bhalwal jail but not arrested. Similarly, Chacha has also been quizzed but not arrested so far, sources said.

During in-camera proceedings in the Special NIA court, Wasim Malik refused to accept legal assistance at the State expense but undertook to cooperate in the investigation, sources said.

Meanwhile, in another turn of events, the Special Court sent co-accused Abid Hussain to Juvenile Justice Board after his medical reports showed that he was a minor.

Hussain had earlier told the court that he was born in 1994 and a major and that his official records did not carry his actual date of birth.

Sources said Hussain also told the judge that he is not sure of the date and month of his birth.

Earlier, during the day, the court remanded co-accused Aamir Abbas Dev in seven-day NIA custody. His custody has been extended till October 14.

Special NIA Judge H S Sharma extended Dev’s custody by seven days after the investigating agency told the court that it needed more time for his custodial interrogation.

It also told the court during the in-camera proceedings that Dev was needed to be confronted with the statements of the other co-accused.

Dev was brought to Delhi on September 21 along with his co-accused Abid Hussain following their arrest at Kishtwar, Jammu Kashmir.

The NIA had in its remand application earlier told the court that besides sending terror mails to media houses, Dev was one of the terrorists who had conducted the bomb blast between gate number 4 and 5 of the Delhi High Court.

Dev and Hussain have been booked under various provisions of the IPC, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Explosive Substances Act, dealing with conspiracy, murder, attempt to kill, causing hurt and using explosives.

Meanwhile, maintaining that their medico son is "innocent", parents of Waseem Akram Malik today said they have handed him over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Delhi after bringing him back from Bangladesh.

"I was informed by the NIA that Waseem Akram Malik is required for questioning (in connection with the Delhi High Court blast case) and in this connection NIA has given a letter to me," Waseem’s father Reyaz-ul-Hassan Malik told a news agency from New Delhi.

"I arranged the telephonic talk of my son (Waseem) with NIA officer, after that I arranged my son’s return (from Dhaka) to the country and at Delhi Airport I and my wife handed over our son to NIA for questioning," Hassan said.

Reyaz-ul-Hassan said his son is innocent and on September 7 (the day of the blast) Waseem was in Jammu, and had drawn the cash from ATM and made shopping in various malls where CCTV cameras are present and the footage can be assessed to prove his presence in Jammu.

"My son is innocent and has nothing to do with Delhi blast case," he said.


Cash-for-vote: Jaitley may be
examined as prosecution witness

NEW DELHI, Oct 7: Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley may be examined by the Delhi police as a prosecution witness to ascertain whether BJP was aware that its three MPs were approached to influence voting in the 2008 trust vote, a local court was told today.

"We have examined Arun Jaitley and there is note in the police case diary about it. We have given his statement in the chargesheet. When the trial would begin, we might need to call Arun Jaitley in the witness box, if needed," Public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan told Special Judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal.

Opposing the bail pleas of BJP leader L K Advani’s former close aide Sudheendra Kulkarni and two former BJP MP Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora in 2008 cash-for-vote case, Mohan said their alleged failure to inform senior party office bearers immediately after receiving ` one crore money, raises doubt about the sting operation.

"If you (accused) were the whistle blowers, why you did not expose at the best available occasion? Why did you not inform your senior party officials after receiving money? Did they inform any senior party member that, yes, we have been offered money?

"There is no such statement by senior party leaders of BJP that Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh (co-accused) offered ` three crore each their three MPs," the prosecutor said.

He said that the BJP MPs Kulaste, Bhagora and Ashok Argal received ` one crore at 11 am on July 22, 2008 but they did not inform any law enforcing agency and waited till 4 pm as they were expecting remaining ` eight crore to be delivered to them.

The prosecutor said that the accused did not even inform their senior party leaders that they were going to meet Amar Singh at his residence in the morning of July 22, 2008.

"They (BJP MPs) have not even informed Jaitley that they would meet Amar Singh at his house at 8 am on July 22, 2008. They could have informed the party leaders about it. The deal was finalised at Rs nine crore (at Amar Singh’s house).

"They (MPs) did not inform anybody about ` one crore which they received at 11 am. They waited for the remaining ` eight crore till 4 pm and after that waved the money(` One crore) in the Lok Sabha," the prosecutor said.

The defence counsel, however, countered his allegations saying that their purpose was to expose the horse trading going on at the time of the trust vote and they had informed the party about it.

Advocate Mahipal Singh, appearing for Kulkarni, said that there was no evidence to show that they were waiting for the remaining ` eight crore till 4 pm.

"There is no evidence that we were waiting for ` eight crore. Court cannot presume that we were waiting for the money. If I have anything to receive as illegal gratification, will I not do it behind close doors?

"The very fact that I had gone to a private news channel (for conducting the sting operation) and they were along with me, shows that there was no intention to receive illegal gratification on my part," he said.

Pressing for bail, Kulkarni’s counsel also said he was not a public servant and had not received illegal gratification or visited Amar Singh’s house.

The defence counsel maintained that BJP MPs were innocent and were only projected as "vulnerable" for the purpose of completing the sting operation.

"The money was given as a bribe but it was not accepted as bribe. It was taken as an evidence to complete the sting operation to show the ongoing horse trading," he said.

He reiterated his claim that senior party leaders of BJP, including Arun Jaitley, was aware of the whole episode.

The prosecutor, however, said that the money received by them was not from any legal source and the claim by accused that they were the whistle blowers, have to be substantiated with evidence.

He said that co-accused Sohail Hindustani met Kulkarni and the BJP MPs as part of the conspiracy.

"There was a meeting between Kulkarni, BJP MPs and Sohail at Kulkarni’s house. This is a evidence of meeting of minds among them. If this was a party meeting, why Sohail was there? He was not a party worker or social activist," he said.

The prosecutor also raised doubts over the sting operation saying that even the private news channel did not inform the law enforcing agencies about it.

He said the three BJP MPs voted against the UPA government in the trust vote but the fact that they accepted the money was enough to book them under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

During the day-long hearing, BJP general secretary Vijay Goel came to meet Kulkarni in the court room.

The arguments on the bail pleas would continue on October 13. (PTI)

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