THE FACT that even Chinese meters can be tampered with puts a question mark on the UPPCL’s Rs 400-crore purchase deal. The peg of the deal was that the Chinese meters were tamper-proof. But, Lucknow Electricity Supply Administration’s (LESA) detected around 80 cases wherein jugad tech got the better of Chinese wisdom.
Over five years ago, the UPPCL started replacing the conventional meters with the Chinese ones. It purchased around 10 lakh such meters.
Even that time their quality was questioned. The UP Rajya Vidyut Upbhokta Parishad had written to then UPPCL CMD RK Narain and complained that the Chinese meters did not have the features which would make them temper-proof.
The Prishad demanded a lab test. Following this, then UPPCL Director (Distribution), RD Gupta wrote to Indian Embassy in Beijing to know if it was advisable to go ahead with the deal. Embassy Counsellor (E & C), G Bombawale did not make a case for the Chinese meters. “Over the past few months several Chinese corporations have participated in international bids for power equipment.
The prices of Chinese companies are extremely competitive. But, quality is not always maintained. This is an aspect which your corporation may like to study in detail,” the letter dated September 20, 2000 said.
The UPPCL then purchased only 5,000 meters and planned to go for the remaining after the test. Nobody knows about the outcome of the test. But UPPCL went ahead with the purchases.
LESA GM, AK Singh says, “Since majority of meters are Chinese in Lucknow, we see that majority of cases of tampering are in Chinese meters,” he said.