Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar has admitted that the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) has outstanding dues of Rs 1,948 crore. Pawar said these were dues from 49,876 residential, commercial and agricultural consumers in the state who had never paid their bills from the time they were given connections.
Pawar, who also holds the power portfolio, said this in a written reply to a question raised by BJP leader of Opposition Vinod Tawde during the question hour on Friday. Tawde had also asked Pawar if more than half the dues were from the Marathwada belt.
“We have learnt that about Rs1,039 crore was due from Aurangabad, Latur and Nanded alone. What is the government doing to ensure this money is recovered?” Tawde said.
“It is true that this is the status on dues as on May 2012. The MSEDCL is trying to recover them from defaulters. For this they have started a special scheme called ‘Abhay Yojana’,” Pawar said in the written reply to Tawde.
Under this scheme, consumers have been asked to pay all arrears till March 31 in a maximum of 24 equal monthly installments, payable with their current bills. However, after these concessions, if the arrears are not cleared then the power supply to these defaulters will be cut.
The MSEDCL had also extended concessions to all industrial consumers whose connections had been cut, if they paid their total outstanding principal arrears as on March 31, 2012, along with 20% interest on the dues by June 30.
This is not the first time that the issue of a high number of defaulters leading to dues in thousands of crores had come up. In November 2011, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) had rapped the MSEDCL and had asked it to prepare a roadmap for recovering dues.