KARNATAKA

Issue of power theft cases taken up in KDP meeting

The filing of power theft cases against gram panchayat secretaries by the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) vigilance squad figured in a discussion at a monthly Karnataka Development Programme (KDP) review meeting here on Wednesday.

During the review of the Action Taken Report of BESCOM, Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer Rangegowda expressed shock and anger over the Vigilance Department's action in filing cases following which a few gram panchayat secretaries were arrested.

It was reported that a few gram panchayat secretaries were arrested on the charge of power theft for taking unauthorised electricity connection to borewells to supply drinking water in the villages.

“The Chief Minister has issued a direction to KPTCL not to take serious action against those elected representatives or government officials who take unauthorised power connection to provide drinking water in rural areas. Despite this, you have booked cases against the secretaries without even serving any notice on them,” he said.

Meanwhile, zilla panchayat president M. Jayanna, through an official of the panchayat's engineering department, came to know that even after three months of payment, BESCOM has not given electricity connections to borewells.

“When you can book cases against our secretaries for unauthorised connections, why should we not book you for delaying connection?” he asked. In reply, a BESCOM official said that the cases were booked by the Vigilance Department without bringing it to their notice. BESCOM division was not involved in this, he added.

He said that he had urged the vigilance officials to bring such cases to the notice of BESCOM before booking cases.

Mr. Rangegowda was also irked with BESCOM for imposing a fine of Rs. 70,000 each on several gram panchayats for delaying payment of electricity bills.

He directed BESCOM to immediately cancel the fine and withdraw cases against the secretaries, unconditionally.

Supply of books

During a review of Backward Classes and Minorities Department, the official said that the department was yet to supply textbooks of sixth and seventh standard of government residential schools in the district.

Taking exception to the inordinate delay in supplying textbooks, Mr. Jayanna wondered who should be held responsible if schools failed to score better percentages in the examinations.



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