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Bengal SEB aims to prune loss

Calcutta, Nov. 6: The West Bengal State Electricity Board (WBSEB) has submitted a turnaround strategy to the Union power ministry, which targets a revenue of Rs 3,000 crore and a Rs 300-crore reduction in loss this fiscal.

The board informed the ministry that it has already collected a revenue of Rs 1,719 crore till October 31. In 2001-02, it had collected revenue of Rs 2,437 crore.

“We have informed the ministry that the annual loss Rs 800 crore loss will be wiped out in a phased manner and the board will break even by 2004-05,” WBSEB chairman G.D. Gautama told The Telegraph.

Commenting on revenue collection, Gautama said the board is well on track. “We will be able to earn Rs 3,000 crore. Revenues in October have gone up substantially over September’s figure of Rs 1,463 crore.”

But the WBSEB chairman said this was not enough. “Looking at the requirements, even this money is not enough and we will have to endeavour to increase it further.”

The board has worked out a plan to reduce losses in a phased manner. It has kept a target of reducing losses by Rs 300 crore in 2002-03, another Rs 300 crore in 2003-04 and the rest Rs 200 crore by 2004-05.

“We are confident of wiping out the Rs 300 crore loss in the current financial year,” the WBSEB chief said.

Another area of focus is the reduction in the transmission and distribution (T&D) loss. The West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission (WBERC) has asked the board to peg T&D losses at 30 per cent in 2000-01 and reduce it by 2.5 per cent every year. “We are doing our best to reduce it substantially,” Gautama said.

The anti-theft law introduced on July 15 this year is helping the board to book offenders. The WBSEB, till date, has raided 9,272 industrial and commercial complexes, lodged 912 FIRs, while 257 persons have been arrested on charges of theft.

“We will intensify our raids in the coming months to arrest the theft of electricity and earn revenue,” he said.

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