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An office sunk in oblivion

THE OFFICE of the Electricity Ombudsman set up a year ago to redress consumer grievances, virtually remains non-existent. Not only does the office lack the requisite manpower, it is also situated in a remote residential area of Gomtinagar. No genuine attempt has ever been made to inform the people about the existence and utility of the office.
None | By HT Correspondent, Lucknow
PUBLISHED ON JUL 27, 2006 01:28 AM IST

THE OFFICE of the Electricity Ombudsman set up a year ago to redress consumer grievances, virtually remains non-existent. Not only does the office lack the requisite manpower, it is also situated in a remote residential area of Gomtinagar. No genuine attempt has ever been made to inform the people about the existence and utility of the office. Small wonder that only 22 consumers have so far approached the Ombudsman from all over the State during the last one year.

The UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) appointed the Electricity Ombudsman (Vidyut Lokayukt) as provided under the Central Electricity Act 2003, more than a year ago. The Ombudsman is empowered, among other things, to receive the appeal petitions against the order of the Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum and consider such complaints and facilitate their satisfaction settlement through agreement, conciliation and mediation between a licensee and the aggrieved parties or by passing an award.

However, the State’s consumers’ are not able to take the benefit of this body because they are not aware about it even in the State capital. leave alone other cities.The office is situated in a rented house in Gomti Nagar. Sources said that the house belonged to the son of a UPERC official (not retired) and the office was set up there to favour the official.

Apart from the unsuitable location, the office is not equipped with manpower. As per the Act, the Ombudsman is authorised to have his secretariat comprising an assistant director (technical), an assistant director (Law), a personal secretary, a clerk-cum-computer operator, and a peon/messenger. Surprisingly, the Ombudsman has none of them and is managing somehow with the help of some staff hired from private agencies.  Sources said the Ombudsman was appointed because of legal compulsions. But there was no serious attempt on the part of the authorities to empower the consumers, they said.

Coal linkage for power units
The UP Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam today succeeded in getting coal linkage approval from the Centre for its proposed power units at Parichha and Harduaganj.

As per the approval accorded by the Centre, the two units of 250 MW capacity each at Parichha thermal power house will get 1.98 million tonnes of coal  per annum from Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL). Similarly, the two units of Harduaganj will get as much coal every year from the CCL, Ranchi.

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