A civil work labourer was shocked to receive an electricity bill of Rs 5.53 lakh for his slum tenement. When he approached the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) office, the amount was brought down to Rs 2.02 lakh.
Zarina Khan with a copy of the bill
Khan, 52, has been living in Wadghar village, in Panvel taluka, with wife Zarina Khan (44) and two kids for the last 30 years. There is an electricity meter each for the two adjoining houses that he owns. While one meter is in his name, the other, installed in 2008, is in Zarina’s name. "Every month, we get a bill of between R500 to R1,500 for the meter in Zarina's name. This January, MSEB said the meter was faulty and that we'd have to pay Rs 5.53 lakh as arrears,” said Khan. He claims that in March, the officials cut the bill to R2.02 lakh. "How can the bill be so high? Are they sending the bill to me or the entire village?" he said.
Social worker Taher Ali Zuber Khan plans to approach the court. "This is a case of cheating by the MSEB. They are trying to extort money, but we will fight for justice," he said.
RB Patil, Assistant Accountant, MSEB, Bhinjari, claims, "The meter was running on 100 units instead of between 700-1,000 units. We have billed them accordingly. When they pay the amount, we will start the meter again," said Patil.