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Probe unearths massive power theft at Byrnihat Industrial Area

By The Assam Tribune
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Collusion of MeECL staff suspected

Staff Correspondent

SHILLONG, April 8: From installing a remote-controlled device to resetting meters multiple times a day, the industries based at Byrnihat have come up with devious ways to steal power, allegedly in collusion with a section of officials of the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL).

An independent inquiry has unearthed that almost all electricity meters at the Byrnihat Industrial Area have been tampered with to pilfer power.

“All the meters are tampered to an extent of 6 per cent to 47 per cent. The extent of corruption and collusion is mind-boggling,” the internal MeCL inquiry report stated.

One of the industrial units also installed a “remote-controlled device” to bypass the meters. An FIR was lodged against the industry and a provisional compensation bill of Rs 3.48 crore has been served.

Meters of some industries were reset multiple times in a day, which is again something unusual, the report found.

According to the findings, the power theft could not have been possible without the collusion of MeECL employees. Despite submission of monthly loss analysis reports by field officers of Byrnihat, no action was allegedly taken by senior MeECL officers.

Due to such corruption, massive losses ranging from 6 to 8 lakh units per month at the Byrnihat 33/11 Rajabagan kv Sub Station have been incurred, the report added.

“No follow-up or corrective action from the field officers was observed which shows the exercise of sending loss reports was only cosmetic,” the report said, adding this proves there is “rampant corruption at many levels”.

According to the report, “accountability for the lapse needs to be fixed and revenue loss needs to be recovered from the officers responsible.” Moreover, similar probes should be initiated in other industrial areas of the State like Umiam, Khliehriat and elsewhere.

Significantly, a surprise inspection by the MeECL Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Arun Kembhavi, also found evidence of power theft in the Byrnihat Industrial Area.

Kembhavi found that the injection energy of a substation in the area and the outgoing meters did not match. A huge variation was found and in some cases, the variation was up to 47 per cent.

The MeECL CMD had requested the State Government to set up an independent inquiry committee or hand over the probe to an investigating agency to fix responsibilities.

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