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33 Ganesh mandals caught stealing power

The festival of Ganeshotsav brings with it the vibrant decorations at every pandal -- the colourful bulbs, beautiful chandeliers and halogen bulbs. But have you ever wondered where the power for these lights comes from? Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) have revealed that several Ganesh mandals are guilty of illegal power consumption during the period of Ganeshotsav.


Power theft: A vigilance team from the BEST caught over 33 mandals between Colaba and Sion-Mahim that were illegally tapping the power supply to light up their pandals. Representation pic

A vigilance team from the BEST has caught more than 33 such mandals between Colaba and Sion/Mahim, that had been illegally tapping the power supply to light up their pandals. According to sources, nearly Rs 1 lakh in fines have been collected from the mandals.

“Our vigilance team has been conducting surprise checks at different Ganpati mandals to inspect their electricity supply connections,” said A Tamboli, BEST spokesperson. Officials from the BEST claim that many of the big Ganesh mandals have lighting right up to the main road, for which power distributors levy higher prices for the large amount of power consumed during the festival.

More than five teams operated during the past 10 days. According to officials, the teams checked the wires joining the meter and the lighting arrangements for the pandal. “Any mandal that had extended the electric wires to the nearest power box or to a meter box of a building, were checked by the vigilance department. If they found any discrepancy in the connections, immediate fines were levied,” explained a senior BEST official.

Many found that the smaller mandals had installed multiple wires to the meter box on the road, which supplies to the streetlights. Fines varied based on the wattage of the different bulbs used in the lighting, the number of hours the lights were used every day and the number of days the lights were used (right from the first day of the festival).

No action was taken only if the mandal was able to produce temporary meters and relevant receipts for the same. The above figures are for power consumption up to September 16. 

The right way to light it up
It is illegal for a mandal to tap power from a home connection or a public connection. Mandals are supposed to file an application for ‘temporary supply’ with the power distributor in their area. The power distributor will then provide a temporary meter to the mandals, and charge them for the amount of power that is
consumed.

This is at a much higher rate. BEST charged mandals at Rs 12.33/unit this year. More than 1,220 mandals have applied for ‘temporary supply’ with the BEST this year.

1,220
Number of mandals that applied for ‘temporary supply’

33
Number of mandals caught stealing power this year

Rs 1 Lakh
Fines collected from Ganesh mandals for stealing power this year

20
Number of mandals caught stealing power last year

Rs 79,000
Fines collected from Ganesh mandals for stealing power last year 

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