CM Devendra Fadnavis gives boost to citizens power tussle with Adani

Dec 02, 2018, 17:15 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar

After MNS, Congress and Shiv Sena join political power slugfest, Devendra Fadnavis orders inquiry into inflated bills of Adani Electricity

CM Devendra Fadnavis gives boost to citizens power tussle with Adani

In a major relief to approximately 30 lakh power consumers in the city, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday ordered an inquiry into the allegedly inflated bills complaint by Mumbai's suburban citizens against Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited (AEML). With BJP, too, raising concerns over inflated bills, the issue is turning out to be a political power slugfest to woo suburban voters.

Vote bank politics?
After mid-day's report on the inflated power bills, Raj Thackeray-led MNS was first to raise the red flag on the issue, followed by Congress president Sanjay Nirupam and Shiv Sena's Anil Parab. The latest to join the bandwagon is BJP city president Ashish Shelar.

Last month, the MNS distributed copies of mid-day at Borivli station
Last month, the MNS distributed copies of mid-day at Borivli station

In a front-page report on November 17, mid-day had highlighted how suburban residents had been complaining about receiving inflated electricity bills after AEML took over the power distribution business from the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure in September.

On Saturday, Bandra MLA and city BJP president Shelar met the CM and briefed him about the growing discontent among citizens over receiving high electricity bills. Fadnavis took cognisance of the issue and ordered an inquiry. "I have instructed state energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule to look into the complaint," the CM told mid-day.

Ashish Shelar
Ashish Shelar

In his letter to the CM, Shelar cited that the media had highlighted the issue and that he too, had received complaints with proof, exhibiting that bills were being dispatched without conducting proper meter reading. "I have asked for an audit of the past three months' bill process and also requested the state Legal Metrology Department to randomly conduct bi-monthly audit of the bills," Shelar added.

Mumbai: MNS, Congress Step Up Power Bill Protests Against Adani

'Inquiry an eyewash'
The MNS and Congress have been flexing their muscle over the issue for the last few weeks. While the MNS had demanded that the AEML justify the electricity charges, which had gone up by 15 to 20 per cent — the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has approved a hike of 0.2 per cent — the city Congress, under the leadership of Nirupam, organised protests outside railway stations. Reacting to the inquiry ordered by the CM, MNS leader Avinash Abhyankar welcomed the move. "With an inquiry being ordered, citizens have won the first round of battle. We want a time-bound, unbiased probe," Abhyankar added.

Congress' Nirupam called the inquiry as eyewash. "The CM can order MERC to withdraw the increased power tariff. But, just ordering an inquiry, clearly shows that the
ruling party wants to buy time and does not want to take concrete measures that will provide immediate relief to the 'aam-admi'," Nirupam added. Meanwhile, the senior Congress leader has written a letter to Gautam Adani, chairman of Adani Group, asking him to intervene and withdraw the higher tariff and provide ease to Mumbai's consumers.

The other side
When mid-day contacted AEML, a spokesperson said, "With our continuous customer engagement, we aim to address and resolve all issues at the earliest. We urge our customers to reach out to us by calling our dedicated customer service team on 19122 or email us at billsupport.aeml@adani.com, or at dedicated camps or direct message on our social media handle for any issues and we will revert within 24 hours."

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