Massive electricity bill shocks farmer

 

Bhopal: A farmer got the shock of his life after he was handed over an electricity bill of Rs 87,225 between 2004 and 2009. All this while, his power line was snapped and he was running from pillar to post, trying to get the electricity connection restored at his farmland.

Madhya Pradesh State Consumer dispute redressal forum recently trashed an appeal filed by the junior engineer of MP Poorva Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company Limited in this regard.

It also slammed the electricity department for leniency and blowing a trivial issue out of proportion.

Rewa-based farmer Chotelal Patel had taken an electricity connection for irrigation purpose in 1989.

In 2000, without any prior intimation, the electricity wires of two poles were removed and power supply to his agricultural lands was disrupted. He wrote to electricity department and requested for restoration, but in vain.

Instead, he was handed over a bill of Rs 1,276 on March 31, 2001. Power connection was not restored, and once again he was asked to pay an electricity bill of Rs 13, 483 for the consumption of electricity from 2004 to 2005.

Electricity department officials claim that the matter was referred to the competent authority, recommending the cancellation of the bill in 2004.

But a bill of Rs 73,772 came back to haunt the farmer again in 2009. He then moved the forum, seeking relief.

Consumer redressal forum, after complete hearing, quashed the bill for year 2009. It also asked the department to pay the farmer a compensation of Rs 5,000 for mental agony and Rs 2,000 for litigation charges. MP Poorva Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company Limited alleged the orders of District Forum, Rewa were based on the forged applications of 2000, as the company was formed in 2002.

Calling the officials negligent, MP consumer dispute redressal forum said, the fact that MP Poorva Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company Limited was formed in 2002 does not make the applications filed by complainant forged.

Inspection and the report of lineman too support the fact that the power line remained snapped for seven years. Order of district forum was hence revived.