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PCL?s latest worry: Oil thefts

india Updated: Sep 26, 2006 01:42 IST
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Farmers buy stolen liquid to use in tractors

THE PROBLEMS for the state electricity department seem to be only increasing. Yet to come to terms with the growing number of cases of electricity wire thefts, the department is now faced with rampant pilferage of oil from transformers in various districts.

Thieves are minting money by selling the stolen transformer oil at cheaper rates to farmers, who are said to be mixing it with diesel for improving output of their tractors and pump-sets.

A transformer of 25 Kva (used at tube wells) contains around 80 liters of oil, the market price of which is over Rs 30 per litre.

Thieves drain out oil from burnt transformers causing not only prolonged power crisis in the areas and hampering irrigation work, but also heavy financial loss to the cash-strapped electricity department. Interestingly, the police register cases, not under the theft provisions, but under those related to sabotage. 

Seriousness of the situation can be gauged from the fact that the issue recently came up for discussion at the Vidhan Sabha’s Assurance Committee’s meeting.

The UPPCL management has informed the government that it would be very difficult for it to ensure regular electricity supply to farmers if the thefts continued.

The problem, however, is most acute in some districts under the Madhyanchal (Lucknow) and the Dakshinanchal (Agra) distribution companies. In Bareilly zone alone there are as many as 75 non functional state tube wells (46 in Shahajahanpur, 15 in Bareilly and 14 in Badayun) after they got burnt due to lack of oil.

In some areas like Shahajahanpur, oil is stolen repeatedly. “As soon as we refill the transformers or replace them, miscreants take out of the oil,” informed UB Pandey, chief general manager, Bareilly zone. “Baheri, Amwala, Mirganj, Faridpur and Nawabganj in Bareilly, Jautipur, Sindhauli and Puwaya in Shahajahanpur and Gunnaur, Rapura, Ismailnagar and Binawar in Badayun are the worst affected blocks,” he said.

Shahajahanpur alone has witnessed 57 cases of oil theft between March and August this year, while 24 transformers each in Sitapur and Lakhmipur Kheri were damaged due to the same reason.

Madhyanchal Discom managing director BB Singh accepted that the problem was assuming alarming proportions. He complained that the police were not taking strict measures despite lodging FIRs to control the situation. The matter has also been brought to the knowledge of senior administration and police officials, he said.

His counterpart in Agra, Kripal Singh expressed similar views. “In Agra, oil is being stolen not only from tube well transformers but also from big transformers catering to villages and cities,” he said. “We lodge around 30 FIRs relating to oil theft every month,” Singh said.

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