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By Our Bureau/
Undisrupted power supply and excess bills are the major problems for the power consumers here in this ancient silk city since long. DSP Mehera-Nathnagar police firing in eighties to the death of Gaina Lal Sah, a poor wheat mill owner has the same similarity in this defunct system!
Gaina Lal Sah (76), a wheat mill owner and a native of Dudhala Mirjapur Nayatola under Nirpur Panchayat in Nathnagar block of Bhagalpur died on March 7 due to massive heart attack. His family members alleged that the incident happened soon after the employees from South Bihar power distribution company Limited (SBPDCL) mounted pressure on him for immediate payment of Rs 29 lakh’s electricity dues.
Rang Lal Sah, son of the deceased in a complain to Madhusudanpur PS against the SBPDCL company alleged that earlier the electricity company sent the power bills for amounting Rs 29 lakh. “My father given application at the power office and had been going regularly to the office of the power company to rectify the bills. My father operated the small wheat mill to pull the entire family,” Rang Lal said. According to him, his father was also assured by the power company officials earlier that the excess amount generated by the previous power company, Bhagalpur power distribution company private limited (BPDCL) would be rectified and further told to pay the current bills. “He paid Rs 2000 on December 31, 2017. He used to pay 2500-3000 units average bills per month,” he told.
He alleged that on March 7 some employee from the power office arrived and started abusing his father for not paying the dues. The men were ready to cut down the supply line to the wheat mill if bill was not paid immediately, he alleged. “They didn’t heard my father about the application for rectification as well as the previous assurances by power official concerned . My father didn’t spare the insult and humiliations caused by the men from power office and fainted following a massive heart attack. The men immediately fled away and when we took him to nearby hospital, doctors declared him dead,” he informed with chocked voice.
According to Manoj Kumar, senior superintendent of police (SSP), Bhagalpur a case has been instructed with Madushudanpur PS under section of 306 and 506 section of IPC against some 3-4 unknown power staffs as the family members of the deceased didn’t have any idea about their identity. He also said that the autopsy of the deceased was done under a medical board. “We are waiting for the report of the medical board which will help us to fix responsibility on the accused for the death incident,” he told.
Ill-fated Rang Lal is not the first victim who died here due to highhandess of SBPDCL, but many power consumers here have subjected to face tremendous harassments mainly due wrong bills. According to Md. Lutufur Raham, treasure of Islamiyah mosque of Islamnagar at Vikhanpur locality in the heart of the city, the power company provided the bill of Rs 7,30,758 for the last three months to the mosque. “On December 2017 we had paid the bill of Rs 750 but don’t know how such heavy amount of bill raised during last three months,” he asked. Many residents complained about the gross irregularities by the company here particularly providing wrong bills. “During the time of the private BEDCPL such mistakes were common which still continuing despite the fact that the government company’s take over,” alleged many power consumer here.
Earlier on November 26, 2017, Bhagalpur electricity distribution company private limited (BEDCP), a private company for distribution of power here was terminated and SBPDCL had taken over the charge here. Sources said that due to such irregularities, the service of BEDCPL was terminated here.
Many power consumers complained that meter reading has been stopped for the last 3-4 months. “The power company assigned a private farm for meter reading from door to door here but the incompetent persons taking the meter reading creating such problems causing resentment among public here,” Some otherther power consumers here alleged. Many others alleged that there is not a single person at Tilkamanjhi, Mojahidpur, Aliganj and Nathnagar sub divisional offices of the company even to listen customers’ grievances.
Sources from SBPDCL said that the private company has been assigned for collecting meter reader from 2.25 lakh consumer here. “We have received complaints against meter reading conducted by the company. But the problem compounded here as rectifying of the bills could be possible from Patna as no officer concerned here is not entitled to do such rectifications,” the source said.
However, superintending engineer, SBPDCL, S P Singh denied the involvement of any power company men for the death of Gania Lal. “He was already assured for rectifying the excess bill and on that basis he paid the current bill on December last. The staffs who went to his residence not for disconnecting the supply line rather intimated him for paying the current bills of January and February 2018,” Singh clarified.
But police here blamed the power company for its non-cooperation attitude. “The official concerned of the company do not cooperating and even not disclosing the names of the staffs who went to Gania Lal’s house,” said a junior ranking cop at Madushudanpur PS.