Activists of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta) and Khet Mazdoor Union (KMU) held hostage members of a special inspection team, including an executive engineer (XEN), of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), reportedly against untimely checking of electricity meters and alleged theft of electricity at Raman village under Nihal Singh Wala sub-division, 33 km from here on Thursday.
Hundreds of people, including women, led by Gurcharan Singh, block president of BKU (Ekta), and Kaka Singh, block president of KMU, gheraoed the official vehicle of the team in which they arrived in the village and did not allow them to come out of the vehicle for at least three hours asserting that they would not allow untimely checking of electricity meters.
According to information, the officials had been conducting a checking of electricity meters in the area for the past three days.
Prominent villagers said that as the PSPCL team reached the village, some people made an announcement from a loudspeaker asking people to gather to protest against the checking of electricity meters. After that, a number of people gathered and gheraoed the vehicle of the officials and held them hostage in it.
As soon as the police administration received information about this incident, a heavy police force reached the village and freed the officials.
Gurcharan Singh and Kaka Singh, who led the protesters, alleged that the residents of the village had been paying electricity bills regularly, but a few months ago, a meter reader of the PSPCL allegedly started finding fault with some electricity meters 'just for making money by taking bribe'. "We are ready to pay electricity bills, but we will not pay the fines which were imposed by the PSPCL recently."
Kulwant Singh Sandhu, executive engineer, who was leading the inspection team, said that the head office of the PSPCL had received a tip-off that some residents of Raman village had been allegedly indulging in stealing electricity for the past few months.
"We raided the village for inspecting the meters and check if any theft of electricity was being committed as per rules, however, some people held us hostage illegally," said the PSPCL official.
Jatinder Singh Khaira, Moga senior superintendent of police, said, "As soon as we received information about this incident, I sent a police force immediately under the supervision of Moga city deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Gurmail Singh to Raman village to ensure safety of the PSPCL officials. The police will not allow anybody to disturb the law and order situation in the district."