In a temporary reprieve for Venkateshwara Hatcheries Pvt Ltd and eight other group companies, the Bombay high court, last week, restrained the Maharashtra Electricity Distribution Company Ltd. (MSEDCL) from recovering electricity charges at commercial rates from the group companies.
The division bench of chief justices Mohit Shah and NM Jamdar has asked MSEDCL to bill the group companies as per the industrial tariff plan, while the petition awaits a final hearing.
The companies had approached the high court after MSEDCL re-classified the hatcheries group in June 2011, and transferred them from the industrial category to commercial category. The reclassification sent the power bill of the group’s research unit at Kalbhor, Pune up by Rs.15.5 lakh.
The group that conducts poultry breeding, hatching and poultry farming in the state moved the high court last month after MSEDCL issued notices seeking payment of arrears purportedly accumulated after applying commercial tariff.
The Kalbhor unit, where research and disease diagnosis for breeders and poultry farmers across India is carried out, had contended that the MSEDCL’s act of classifying the research facility as HT-II Commercial category was based on misinterpretation of tariff orders issued by Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC).
The company has sought to classify the group units under the farming category, contending that hatcheries and research laboratories form an integral part of poultry farming.