Bhubaneswar: There are seemingly two sets of rules when it comes to collecting arrears pertaining to the power sector in Odisha.
While poor and middle-class families face snapping of domestic power supply for dues of a few thousands, large enterprises and government agencies can enjoy a free run even if they run bills in thousands of crores.
Why this differential behaviour? Why is the state government reluctant to collect arrear power bills from its own agencies? Energy, Industries and MSME Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra parried the question in the Odisha Assembly.
The minister was asked this when he informed the Assembly that power distribution companies (Discoms) in Odisha owe more than Rs 2000 crore to different private and small scale industries.
Replying to a question by the BJP MLA Bhabani Shankar Bhoi, Mishra said Tata Power Southern Odisha Distribution Limited (TPSODL) owes Rs 1509 crore. Similarly, TP Central Odisha Distribution Limited (TPCODL) owed Rs 348.95 crore, TP Western Odisha Distribution Limited (TPWODL) owed Rs 140.25 crore and North Eastern Electricity Supply Company of Odisha Limited (NESCO) owed Rs 223.79 crore.
Mishra further informed that among the defaulting private industries, 297 have moved the High Court and 448 have moved a lower court alleging faulty collection of the power dues by the Discoms.