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Business Exclusive India National News

Kerala’s power board generosity to Reliance shocks public

Kochi, July 5 (): Reliance Infotel which owes Rs 6 crore to Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has been given more time and has also asked the engineers to restore power back.

As per the billing schedule, Reliance Infotel Ltd – who owns the mobile towers across the State was to pay Rs 6.5 crores. The bill due date was June 26 and Reliance Infotel did not pay up. Divisional offices began disconnecting the connections to Reliance mobile towers.

On June 30, Reliance gave a letter to Power minister Aryadan Mohamed asking for more time as the computer network was down and it had problems in accounting due to this. On July 3 the KSEB board took up the Reliance letter and it decided to grant 15 more days and issued an order asking all disconnected connection be restored.

Just before the board meeting, Reliance paid Rs 55 lakhs. After the board meeting, director in charge of power distribution brought out the order meant for division offices which had cut power to Reliance towers. The orders were delivered to these division offices by Reliance staff.

As the concession shown to Reliance surfaced, KSEB board director Rawther who issued the order came with an explanation that if any consumer shows a valid reason to the section officer where one has to pay the bill, he too can get a relief.

Reliance’s reason was valid and so the order of extending the due date was given. Rawther says that such concessions were even given to BSNL. He further adds that Union ministry of power and Central regulatory authority has told state boards that power disconnections to public sector and private sector serving the public should not be made without prior notice.

The concession to Reliance is surprising as KSEB in April and May tried hard to buy power from them but they did not respond and even backed out of an early agreement and agreed to pay Rs 1 per unit as penalty, a clause put in the agreement.

KSEB’s generosity at a time when it is in shambles and mired in debts has angered the common man as even cases where while the earning member of household were in hospital, the power connections were cut.