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Lok Adalats reduce power woes

delhi Updated: Mar 30, 2009 00:56 IST
Harish V Nair
Harish V Nair
Hindustan Times
Lok Adalats reduce power woes

With discounts up to 60 per cent and liberal payment norms on offer, Lok Adalats organised by power distribution companies for out-of-court settlement of long-pending court disputes are turning out to be a huge draw.

One such camp organised by the North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL) in association with the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee (DHCLSC) in Delhi High Court on Sunday was a thumping success with over 1,000 cases settled amicably.

The consumers in the company’s distribution network of North and North-West Delhi utilised the opportunity to negotiate with NDPL officials and settle cases pertaining to power theft, misuse charges, dues against disconnected electricity connection and restoration of disconnected connection.

“The response was overwhelming. Consumers availed of discounts up to 60 percent. In cases where bills were exorbitant we also allowed sufficient time for payment in several installments,” NDPL spokesperson Ajey Maharaj said.

Sama Kaur, a widow and pensioner came burdened with a power bill arrear of Rs 77,000. Her appeal for compassion prevailed and she now has to pay just Rs 25,000 and that too in two installments.

A similar Lok Adalat by the BSES on March 14 and 15 was a 92 per cent success with 2,333 of 2,527 cases settled on spot.

“In our Lok Adalat, customers, whose cases were settled were given up to 15 days to pay up. In fact, the BSES has adopted a very humane approach in this regard. Looking at the financial position of the customer/litigant, the BSES has even allowed some to pay in 3-4 installments,” a BSES official said.

D.K. Sharma, secretary of the DHCLSC, said: “Keeping in view the impressive response, we plan to host more such lok adalats. Besides reducing potential litigation and pendency in courts, people realise the benefits of alternative dispute redressal mechanism —speedy and cost effective.”