The state power conglomerate is unable to provide uninterrupted supply to keep alive its automated bill payment machines, forcing consumers to wait for hours in long queues to clear their electricity dues in Dhanbad.
As many as 10 of 22 ATP (any time payment) machines of Jharkhand Bijli Nigam (JBVNL) do not have power back-up facility other than the 15 minutes of in-built power back-up. This has led to long queues outside the JBVNL office counters in the time of power cuts.
Jharia resident Prajesh Chaubey tried two ATP machines last week, but none was working.
“I was busy with my father’s ailment, so I could not pay my electricity bill for the last three months. I visited two ATP machines in Jharia, but found that both weren’t working has there was no power back-up,” said the teacher of DAV School-Sindri.
Chaubey managed to pay up on Monday, but after being considerably inconvenienced. “Today, I had to wait for more than an hour at the JBVNL office counters at Jharia to pay my electricity bills,” he said.
GM of JBVNL’s Dhanbad area Pratosh Kumar claimed he was not aware of the power back-up issues. “Some of the old machines may be devoid of power back-up facilities, but we will ensure all machines have power back-up at the earliest,” he said.
Jharkhand Rajya Bijli Kamgar Union general secretary Ramkrishna Singh said the state of ATP machines was the same in areas like Dhanbad, Sindri, Nirsa and Katras.
“A majority of the ATP machines are devoid of power back-up. Though there is an online payment option using the JBVNL website, most aren’t Net-savvy. Hence, they prefer using ATP machines to pay bills,” he said, adding that they had raised the issue with JBVNL authorities several times, but no avail.
Singh said the worst sufferers are women, most of whom were homemakers who usually use ATP machines to pay their bills.