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Uttarakhand HC reprimands UPCL fo its GM owing power dues worth lakhs

The Uttarakhand High Court has reprimanded the Uttarakhand Power Corporation Ltd for charging a nominal sum per month from its GeneralManager as electricity bill even though he owes the corporation dues worth lakhs of rupees.

Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice Alok Kumar on Wednesday sought a clarification from the UPCL on thiswithin a week after the division bench of the high court was told that its GM owed the corporation an amount of Rs 4.02 lakh as dues over a periodof 25 months but had been paying a paltry Rs 425 per month towards power bills.

Expressing its displeasureover the matter, the high court observed that officials of UPCL have abused power with a deliberate attempt to obfuscate data.

The order came on a PIL accusing UPCL of undercharging its GMdespite heavy dues against him and also allowing its employees and their families to enjoy these benefits even after retirement.

The petition said while the GM and employees of UPCL pay such meagre amounts as power bills, the common man has to pay at the rate of Rs 2.75 per unit on consumption of up to 100 units and at the rate of Rs 5.65 per unit beyond that limit.

The court also commented that even judges are entitled to only 15,000 units of electricity per year whereas the UPCL seems to have no cap on usage for its employees. Even the payment of nominal amount is disputable, it said.

The court further asked the UPCL to clarify its stand on why such facilities are provided to employees of the generation as well as transmission departments of the corporation in addition to officials of UPCL.

The power corporation has also been directed to examine the feasibility of placing limits on the consumption of electricity by its employees either in terms of value or in units consumed.