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HC stays power tariff hike

Correspondent

Major relief to electricity consumers in State


Notices issued to government, OERC, discoms, and Central Bureau of Investigation

PIL demands CBI probe into the allegations


CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Thursday stepped in to grant a major relief to electricity consumers in the State when it stayed the proposed power tariff hike as planned by the Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) from April 1.

Admitting a PIL filed in this connection, a Division Bench of the HC consisting of Justices B.P.Das and B.K. Mishra in an interim measure ordered that the power tariff as fixed by OERC for the financial year 2011-12 shall not be collected from the consumers.

The HC also issued notices returnable within two weeks to the State government, OERC, all the power distribution companies and power generation corporations of the State, including the CBI who was also made an opposite party in the PIL.

Alleging that electricity generation, transmission and its distribution are done in very arbitrary manner by the private companies in the State without any transparency in their fund management, the PIL had demanded for CBI enquiry into all the allegations.

Keonjhar Navnirman Parishad, a registered trust represented by its secretary Dilip Kumar Mohapatra, its joint secretary Girija Sankar Panda and Arun Kumar Sahu, an electricity consumer of Cuttack city here had filed the PIL on Wednesday questioning the rationale behind the recent decision of OERC to hike the power tariff.

CAG report

The petition had maintained that despite the Electricity Act of 2003, the Companies engaged in electricity generation, transmission, distribution and trading have completely failed in protecting the interest of the consumers to provide electricity at an affordable price.

Quoting the CAG report for the year ending on March 31, 2009 that deep rooted inefficiency, corruption and callousness in hydro power generation has resulted in far below capacity utilisation in this sector, the petitioners had urged the High Court seeking a direction for CBI enquiry to find out the persons who were responsible for such loss of public money.

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