THE COOPERATIVE Electric Supply Society (CESS), which has been given the responsibility of supplying electricity to and recovering revenue from 70,000 rural consumers in six blocks of the districts, is itself a big defaulter and so is its chairman.
Questions are being raised as to how the Madhyanchal (Lucknow) discom signed an agreement with the CESS for making a rural franchisee despite the society being a defaulter. “It is a matter of investigation as to why a defaulting organisation with a bad track record was chosen as a rural franchisee,” pointed out UP Rajya Vidyut Upbhokta Parishad president Avadhesh Kumar Verma on whose petition the UPERC stayed the execution of the agreement.
The then UP State Electricity Board (UPSEB) had issued a license to the CESS in 1970 for supplying electricity to the villages in the six blocks. The license was valid for 10 years but its validity was extended from time to time till it was terminated in March 1997 following various complaints.
Official documents show that the CESS owed around Rs 70 cr dues to the UPSEB. The CESS did not make payment for the 15 million units of electricity supplied by the Board, every month.
A letter written in this regard by the then DM Pradeep Shukla in December, 1996 to the Government reveals that the CESS was a defaulter and the cheques issued by it were dishonoured by banks.
Not only the CESS itself is a defaulter but its chairman and Samajwadi Party leader Sehadeo Singh is also a defaulter. He owes around Rs 70,000 to the LESA as dues against his house in Sarojni Nagar.
One wonders what forced the Madhyanchal bosses to select the CESS as input-based franchisee. “The power department does not give a new power connection to any defaulting premises. But it gave franchisee to a heavily defaulting body to cater to 70,000 consumers,” said UP Vidyut Karmchari Morcha Sangthan leader Chhote Lal Dixit. He also warned that the power employees might launch an agitation if the agreement with the CESS was not terminated.
From service point of view also, the track record of CESS was quite poor particularly when it had the power distribution license till 1997. Corruption was rampant and consumers were a harried lot those days.
Several complaints (including the one by then Samajwadi Party MLA from Malihabad Gauri Shankar) were made against the CESS.