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Why state electricity board cannot crack down on power thefts

Not enough honest officials, says a JBVNL GM who couldn’t order a raid even after he was tipped off by a citizen

Kumud Jenamani Jamshedpur Published 08.08.20, 05:49 PM
The transformer from which power was being drawn illegally at Dimna Chowk in Mango, Jamshedpur.

The transformer from which power was being drawn illegally at Dimna Chowk in Mango, Jamshedpur. Aninesh Sengupta

Power theft is rampant in the Mango division of Jharkhand Bijli Vitaran Nigam but the electricity distribution company doesn’t have the wherewithal to prevent it even if instances of illegal connections are brought to its notice light by a vigilant citizenry.

On Saturday, a senior JBVNL officer admitted how he could not organise a surprise raid against a construction company that had been drawing power illegally at a building site at Dimna Chowk even after a local resident had alerted him to it by providing pictorial evidence.


The general manager-cum-chief engineer of Singhbhum electricity area board, Arvind Kumar, said the only trustworthy and honest officer who could be entrusted with the job was away in Ranchi on official work. Hence, he could take necessary action.

In the meantime, word had spread that JBVNL had been informed about the illegal “hooking”, a procedure by which cables are connected to a transformer to tap electricity, that had been going on at the construction site. A group of JBVNL field workers apparently came and disconnected the wires and left.

"It is a matter of grave concern that a very few officials are dependable. I had planned to get a raid conducted at Dimna Chowk, but before it could be materialised, the unauthorised connection was snapped,” said Kumar.

It all started on Tuesday, when a resident of Dimna, also a JBVNL consumer, lodged a complaint with Kumar, telling him about the multi-storeyed residential complex that was being built using electricity tapped illegally from a nearby transformer. The resident also provided photographs of the transformer and the illegally connected cables.

Kumar took all the details and told the resident that they would conduct a raid on Thursday when his only trusted official would be available. But JBVNL could not conduct a raid on Thursday or on Friday. Eventually on Saturday morning, some field workers of JBVNL appeared and removed the cables that had been hooked on to the transformer and left.

Kumar admitted to The Telegraph Online that he failed to conduct a raid as there were very few trusted officials in his department.

"The only trusted official who used to carry out such raids was on leave. The official joined work at the Jamshedpur Circle on Thursday but left for Ranchi on official work. When he turned up on Friday, I met him and informed the superintending engineer, Jamshedpur Circle, Sudhanshu Kumar in the evening,” Kumar said.

But someone must have informed those in the construction company, he added, because of which the cables were removed from the transformer. “Someone from the department must have tipped then off about our plan," he rued.

The superintending engineer Sudhanshu Kumar could not be contacted for a comment.

An insider in JBVNL's Jamshedpur Circle pointed out that corruption was rampant in every section of the discom. “Any kind of illegal work can be done by influencing the concerned officials monetarily,” he alleged.

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