The railway authorities have assured the Bombay high court that they will not remove the cable wires laid down by the Tata Power Company (TPC) at Vikhroli and Borivli, which supplies electricity to suburban Mumbai.
A division bench of justice Ranjana Desai and justice Rajesh Ketkar was hearing a petition filed by the TPC challenging the “wayleave charges” of more than Rs2 crore demanded by the Railways for laying the cables on the railway land. Additional solicitor general Darius Khambata made the statement during the hearing on Wednesday.
“That (removing cables) will plunge the city into darkness. So I (railways) do not intend to remove it,” said Khambata. The TPC is laying cables under the tracks at Vikhroli, and on a road overbridge at Borivli.
Iqbal Chagla, counsel for the TPC, argued that they are a telegraph authority as per the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, and so need not take permission before laying the wires.
Chagla argued that if they were not allowed to lay cables, thousands of its customers would be affected, who might have to live in the dark.
As per the petition, the TPC, which has been in existence since 1924, is being allowed to complete work at a nominal fee. However, it was only this time that the railways was levying such hefty fees, argued Chagla.
Counsels for the Railways — Khambata and Suresh Kumar — opposed the petition claiming that since 1924, they have been entering into agreement with the TPC and it was only in 2001 that the Railways revised the wayleave charges.
It was only in 2009, that TPC received communication from the Western Railway demanding Rs2.63 crore [for Borivli] and from the Central Railway demanding Rs23 lakh (for Vikhroli). “The wayleave charge has been imposed at the rate of 6% of the land value, which the company would be utilising,” stated the petition.
Chagla informed the court that they may deposit a bank guarantee to the tune of demand raised till final order was passed in this matter.
The court has asked the power firm to inform it by Thursday whether or not it was willing to deposit the bank guarantee.