The Bombay High Court today asked power distribution companies, police and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) to hold a meeting and come up with suggestions as to how the power thefts can be prevented.
The division bench headed by Justice P V Hardas was hearing a public interest litigation filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar, alleging that power is stolen brazenly during the Ganesh festival, Navratri and Diwali every year, resulting in loss of revenue.
The court said the representatives of the two major power distribution companies, Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking and Reliance Infrastructure, MCGM, police and Tirodkar himself should meet and come up with suggestions tomorrow, so that it can pass an order on August 13.
According to Tirodkar, the `mandals' which organise Ganesh festival or Navratri celebrations collect huge donations, but they are still given heavy concessions in power bills. Besides, many mandal simply rig up supply from power poles on the streets, without paying anything. According to police, since 2005, ten cases of power theft were registered at the MRA Marg police station here alone, and in all of them, chargesheets were filed. Mumbai's power demand is around 2,600 MW whereas Tata Power Company and Reliance Energy together provide only 2,300 MW at present.
Maharashtra is facing shortage of around 3,000-3,500 MW during morning and evening peak hours. The PIL demands that special cells be set up to crack down on power thefts.