Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Residents of the Tahirpur Leprosy Colony here have been directed by the Delhi Government to get regular electricity connections from the power distribution company operating in their area and to foot their own power bills.

The residents of the Leprosy Colony, who had sought relief from the Government, were asked by the Social Welfare Department on Thursday to get regularised connections, stop all illegal tapping of power and pay for their power consumption.

Power distribution company BYPL, which supplies electricity in the area, has alleged that the Leprosy Colony housing a population of about 1,100, owes around Rs.75 lakh in unpaid electricity dues to the company since 1981. After repeated reminders to pay their dues failed to get results, the discom on Wednesday cut off electricity to the entire colony, but restored the supply following intervention of MLA Vir Singh Dhingan.

“The BYPL was left with no option but to disconnect power supply on Wednesday. The customers not only refused to pay their electricity bills but also never responded to our innumerable reminders over many months. The problem was further compounded by large-scale theft — of hundreds of kilowatts within the ashram premises by unscrupulous elements,” sources said.

The Social Welfare Department, which was apprised of the matter, has asked the residents to shut down all illegal factories and workshops that run in the colony and seek domestic connections. The Department also turned down the residents’ demand for exemption from having to pay their electricity bills.

“Earlier, the colony had around 83 electricity connections. Today they are down to just 13. Many residents are illegally drawing electricity. As a humanitarian gesture the BSES has also offered to waive off the late payment surcharge of around Rs.31 lakh, but so far there has been no positive outcome,” sources said.

“The Leprosy Colony, besides housing bonafide inhabitants, also has outsiders. They include people who live as tenants.”