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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

PCL defends 'selective' 24x7 power supply

Brajendra K Parashar, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, September 23, 2012
First Published: 13:05 IST(23/9/2012) | Last Updated: 13:07 IST(23/9/2012)

Questioning the very maintainability of the public interest litigation objecting to the unequal distribution of power in the state, the UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) has sought to defend 24x7 electricity to certain districts. At the same time, it has opposed the plea for a similar treatment of cities with Hindu pilgrimage spots.

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In an affidavit filed in the Allahabad high court on Friday, three days before the court is scheduled to hear the PIL, on Monday, the UPPCL has argued that the petition deserved to be rejected since it was not maintainable on legal grounds.

The corporation, according to sources, has pointed out that under Section 23 of the Electricity Act, 2003, any one with a grievance about power supply should first approach the appropriate regulatory commission (here it means UP Electricity Regulatory Commission).

"In this case, the petitioner directly moved the high court without exploiting the first channel of grievance redress," an official pointed out.

Further raising the question of maintainability of the PIL, the corporation has said the PIL had been filed by one Ashok Pandey on the behalf of the Hindu Personal Board that had, among other things, demanded 24-hour power supply to Hindu religious places.

"But the applicant has failed to produce the Board's resolution in this regard as well as its bylaws permitting it to do it," the corporation is said to have pointed out in its affidavit.

While submitting its power roster to the court, the UPPCL has also defended round-the-clock supply to half-a-dozen VIP districts/cities, including Etawah, Kannauj, Mainpuri, Rampur Raebareli and Amethi, on the ground of security, protocol and the declared and the undeclared visits of VIPs to these districts.

The corporation has, at the same time, vehemently opposed the petitioner's plea that Hindu pilgrimage spots be also supplied 24x7 power. It had maintained that no such discrimination could be made on religious grounds.

While hearing the PIL more than a week ago, the Lucknow bench of the high court had asked the UPPCL to produce its roster justifying the discrimination in power distribution.

The court had observed that the UPPCL's plea that it supplied 24x7 electricity to certain districts because of VIPs often visiting those districts was "disturbing."

UPPCL officials believe that the justification that had been given for round-the- clock supply to certain districts in heir affidavit is again not quite convincing.

"We have called a spade a spade, and now it is for the court to issue appropriate directions," an official pleaded.


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