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KSEB shifts to free software billing

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Different path: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan inaugurating a new billing software developed by the KSEB in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday. -
Different path: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan inaugurating a new billing software developed by the KSEB in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday. -

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) shifted from proprietary software to launch a free software-based platform of independent billing system on Monday.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan formally launched the platform at a function in the presence of Electricity Minister A.K. Balan here.

Mr. Achuthanandan qualified the initiative a “bold step” in line with the LDF government’s desire to support the use of free software in e-governance.

‘Oruma’, as this platform of billing system is called, was developed by the KSEB with its own expertise. Trials in actual operational environment have shown it quite superior to the platform on proprietary software developed by the KSEB in 2003 with hired expertise, according to a release circulated at the function.

The KSEB will also save Rs.9.5 crore on licence fee and software upgrading because of the shift to free software, the release added.

The KSEB Officers’ Association and a group of independent software experts had come out against the “hidden costs” and also the “errors” in the platform on proprietary software at the time of its pilot launch in 2003.

Complaints galore

Numerous complaints were reported from the field when the KSEB rolled out the platform to 177 of its sections in the State.

The LDF government, soon after coming to power, conducted a review of the computerisation programme and stopped the rollout of the programme to the remaining sections. The decision to go for free software using in-house talent followed soon, the release said.

KSEB chairman Rajiv Sadanandan welcomed the gathering. Thiruvanathapuram Mayor C. Jayan Babu offered felicitation.

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