GUWAHATI, July 10 � The Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) is losing substantial amounts of revenue due to irregularities in the process of preparation of the electricity bills and a probe has been ordered into the matter after such irregularities came to light at a number of sub-divisions.
ASEB sources told The Assam Tribune that at a number of sub divisions of the State, the electricity bills were �rectified� by unauthorized persons either by hacking the computers and till date, no one knows how much money the Board had lost in the process.
Sources said that the process of billing of ASEB was computerized in 2005 and only in Golaghat sub division alone, the amount �rectified� through irregular means was Rs 5 crore. The ASEB has filed an FIR against one computer operator who was allegedly involved in the incident and the process of checking the records of all the sub divisional offices of the board is on to assess the loss.
Sources pointed out that only the sub divisional officer and the sub manager revenue of a sub division are given the passwords to rectify the bills if there is any mistake. There is proper laid down procedure for the process and whenever any bill is rectified, all records should be kept properly. But it was found in several places of the State that unauthorized persons rectified the bills and in the process, the board lost huge sums of revenue. �There are several possibilities in this matter. The SDOs and sub manager revenue might have given the passwords to others, while, the possibility of hacking, too, cannot be ruled out,� sources admitted.
ASEB sources said that there have been instances when the bill clerks and even meter readers managed to rectify the bills. Every officer has specified roles and if anyone other than those authorized fiddled with the bill amounts, it is a gross violation of rules, sources said. Sources revealed that whenever a consumer has any complaint on the bill, he or she should file an application to the concerned SDO as only he can rectify the mistakes, if any. The consumers should also be aware of their rights and duties to check irregularities, sources added.
Sources further revealed that to check the irregularities, all the SDOs have been directed to change their passwords and senior officers have been directed to visit all the sub divisions to check the records. The SDOs have also been directed to strictly adhere to the set rules and not to allow any unauthorized persons to have access to the passwords. ASEB authorities also asserted that strict action would be taken against anyone found guilty.
Meanwhile, the Assam State Power Workers' Union has also demanded strict action against those involved in the process of billing. The union has already submitted memorandum to the chairman of the ASEB in this regard and threatened to launch a movement if the guilty are not punished immediately.