Pune: Dark times ahead for Zilla Parishad, thanks to unpaid power bills

State power discom says Parishad office has not paid electricity bills for its two connections since July and October respectively, accumulating arrears of over Rs 3 lakh

If you happen to go past the old Pune Zilla Parishad (ZP) office after the sun has set, you will find the lights out in most of its windows.

A Partial blackout: Zilla Parishad office in Camp. Pic/Mohan Patil

Power supply on one of the two connections to the ZP building was severed yesterday, because the government office has not paid electricity bills worth more than Rs 3 lakh. Unlike in case of other defaulters, the state discom, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL), waited patiently for the Parishad officials to pay up but finally cut supply to the building yesterday.

The building houses several other offices, including those of education, entertainment, election and planning departments, and they would do well to arrange for emergency-lighting, in case they feel like burning the midnight oil.

According to official sources from the MSEDCL, for one of the two connections of the building, the bills have climbed up to
Rs 1.6 lakh, pending since July, 2013. This line was cut. A similar amount has not been paid on the other connection, officials said, but they were forced to spare this one.

“We couldn’t find the key to the other connection, for which the dues have mounted to Rs 1.65 lakh since October 2013. Otherwise, we would have cut that one on Thursday,” said a source from the MSEDCL.

‘Power’ clash
The defaulting has compounded, claims the MSEDCL, owing to a tussle between the ZP and the collector’s offices over the payment of electricity bills, which led to a snowballing of the outstanding dues. “Most of the departments under the district collectorate were shifted to the ZP building around a year back, due to renovation of the collectorate office. So there may be a dispute between the ZP and the collectorate as to who should payment the electricity bill,” said an official of MSEDCL, on the condition of anonymity.

The highly-placed official further said that after giving the ZP two notices, the recent one having been served on January 31, the MSEDCL finally cut one connection. The discom officials said they would reconnect the supply only after the bill is paid.

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