Illegal electricity connections resurfaces in floodplain houses of Ghaziabad’s Kanawani
Residents have pointed out that these unlawful connections enjoy the support of influential individuals and local linemen who charge residents for providing electricity at a monthly rate
Illegal electricity connections, known as ‘Katiya’ in Uttar Pradesh, have resurfaced in Kanawani village in Ghaziabad, merely a week after the electricity department disconnected hundreds of these connections due to overloaded transformers, officials said.
Residents have pointed out that these unlawful connections enjoy the support of influential individuals and local linemen who charge residents for providing electricity at a monthly rate.
Earlier in August, the residents staged protests on August 3 and 4 against the disconnection of their illegal connections, colloquially referred to as ‘Katiya,’ and demanded the installation of legitimate electricity meters.
Officials from the Paschimanchal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Limited (PVVNL) said that the Kanawani area, developed on the floodplain of river Hindon, boasts approximately 250 valid, metered connections. However, an additional 1800-2000 connections on the floodplains cannot be equipped with meters, as per a 2010 government directive.
Ajit Jha, president of the Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA), said, “Many houses here on the floodplains have once again resorted to ‘Katiyas’ for power. This is enabled by the linemen, who primarily connect these during the night and disconnect them during the daytime. These illicit connections are linked to the nearest electricity poles, with some being routed through concealed wires buried beneath the earth.”
Jha further said that households lacking connections are pressing for electricity meters, but the authorities have cited the 2010 order prohibiting electricity connections to houses on floodplains.
During a recent visit by an HT team, residents pointed out that these unauthorized connections are rampant in street numbers 4, 7, and 5, among other floodplain areas.
The excessive load imposed by illegal connections resulted in the malfunction of two PVVNL transformers installed in the vicinity. The officials conducted a combing operation in August to identify and disconnect these unauthorized connections, triggering protests from residents who endured days without power.
Notably, despite the installation of a third transformer and the addition of valid connections, the problem of illegal connections persists.
A Kanawani resident, who wished not to be named, said, “Some residents are resorting to local generator operators, paying ₹200-300 for a charge, and even charging their electric vehicles through these unlawful connections.
Mrityunjaya Pathak, an executive engineer of PVVNL, said, “We conduct daily combing operations in the area to identify illegal connections and have requested district officials to provide police support for effective enforcement. Some of the linemen involved are private individuals and not affiliated with the electricity department. We suspended one of our linemen about 5-6 months ago due to similar violations. We will investigate these instances once again and address the reappearance of these illegal connections.”