Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 21:
Ranendra Pratap Swain aka Raja Swain, a member of the ruling BJD, today alleged in the Odisha Assembly that power distribution companies (discoms) have swindled around Rs 5000 crore from consumers in the name of “minimum charges” and demanded th refund of the amount illegally collected from the consumers.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Swain said, “Each electricity consumer in Odisha has already paid an extra Rs 7, 500 by way of minimum charges.”
“There are over 56 lakh electricity consumers in the state of which at least 50 lakh were “aam admi” or poor people. The companies levied Rs 60 in the name of “minimum charge” and kept collecting this amount from each consumer each month since 2003 to 2015, which is “illegal”. If you compute this, the figure comes around Rs 4000 crore to Rs 5000 crore in 160 months,” the Athagarh MLA said.
Notably, the distribution companies levied minimum charge of Rs 60 per month on its consumers after the Centre introduced a new Electricity Act in 2003 as the minimum charge was not being collected since the day of reforms in the power sector.
Supporting Swain’s contention, Congress chief whip Taraprasad Bahinipati sought the intervention of the Speaker in the matter as electricity consumers had been “looted”.
“I demand that the Rs 5,000 crore be collected from the companies and returned to the people,” Bahinipati demanded.