Awaiting the release of tubewell connection for the past 24 years, finally, a farmer from Rajpura got some relief as the district consumer disputes redressal forum, SAS Nagar, directed the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to pay Rs 1 lakh as compensation for its “callous attitude, gross negligence, deficiency in service and unfair trade practice that caused immense mental harassment and tension to the complainant”.
The PSPCL had tried to take protection stating that the National Green Tribunal in March this year had put a stay on the release of tubewell connection.
Unimpressed by the argument, the forum said, “We are of the opinion that Ranjit's case does not fall under the case pending before the NGT. Therefore, the orders of NGT are of no assistance to the PSPCL denying the release of tubewell power connection to him. He is in the queue of prospective tubewell connection seekers since 1990, and despite having paid all dues, the power corporation has failed to release the connection.”
Ranjit Singh had moved the consumer forum saying, he had applied for tubewell connection way back in the year 1990 that has not been released till date despite having completed all formalities.
In March 2014, the PSPCL had given an undertaking that the tubewell connection to the complainant would be released within four months, but to no avail. Ranjit Singh said that non-release of the tubewell connection against the application of March 2, 1990 amounts to the act of deficiency in service and unfair trade practice.
The PSPCL denied any deficiency in services and said that Ranjit never turned up to deposit necessary documents along with mandatory fee, which was the reason his application was cancelled. The PSPCL claimed that in January 2014, Ranjit was asked to deposit necessary documents along with test report so that his case be proceeded as per the rules.
The consumer forum taking PSPCL to task for harassing a farmer for about 24 years directed the state government to hold a fact finding enquiry and submit the report within a month.
The forum held, “For the past over 24 years, for no fault of his own and PSPCL being a monopolist in the trade of power of supply- and being a government instrumentality- has failed to meet the expectations of consumers, causing disbelief and lack of faith in the system.”
The forum added, “The authorities should look into the issue on the administrative level and hold a fact finding enquiry and fix responsibility of the defaulting officer/official causing pain and agony to the consumer. The fact finding report should be submitted within a month.”