Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
It is well known that the Western Electricity Supply Company of Orissa Ltd.(WESCO) is infested with corrupt personnel. But it was not yet known that it also collaborate with housebreaking and power hijacking by the housebreakers!
Several of its employees and officials have been captured redhanded in different places on different days by the State Vigilance while taking bribes and also have been subjected to raids for accumulation of wealth beyond known sources of income.
Authorities are of the view that, it also is a mismanaged organization.
In analyzing its performance for 2010-11, the Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) has not only noted it to be “really shameful” , but also has arrived at “the inescapable conclusion” that “stealing of electricity by high end consumers with active connivance of the employees at different level” is going on with “the top management sitting as silent spectator”(OERC Report on Review of Performance of WESCO for the FY 2010-11, taken up on 26.05.2011).
Sadly, the Government run by Naveen Patnaik is also sitting nonchalant over such specific observation of OERC.
Encouraged by the State Government’s collaboration with corruption, the WESCO officials have become so very emboldened that they have started even collaborating with housebreakers in having energy connections at their criminally trespassed sites. One such instance has come into light in the town of Sambalpur.
Owner of ‘Asharani House’ behind Misra Lodge at Fatak, Sambalpur, Smt Asharani Misra, who resides with her family at Bhubaneswar, was, shocked to see that two illegal trespassers into her house were using electricity illegally dragged into by “wire-hooks connected to the street electric pole”.
In a complaint dated 23 Nov 2011, duly acknowledged by the SDO of the concerned electrical sub-division of WESCO, she wanted instant disconnection of the illegal line and corresponding actions against the miscreants.
But to her surprise and shock, to neither Sri Satpathy, the Junior Engineer to whom the complaint was addressed, nor Sri Tanuram Behera, the SDO concerned to whom copy of the complaint was given, this was a matter to merit attention.
A shocked Smt. Misra, in a complaint before the Chairman of WESCO filed on 30 Nov.2011, wanted her house to be free from illegal power connection failing which she would seek redressal in appropriate courts and make WESCO liable for the damage.
The illegal hook was then removed on 2 Dec. 2011, but despite Smt. Mishra having named the illegal users of hook to drag energy into her house, no action was taken against the hijackers of electricity.
Yet, to her surprise, Sri Behera, the SDO, gave her alarming threats over phone that if any hooking is found in future, she shall be prosecuted against for the same.
Smt. Mishra immediately informed the WESCO Chairman of this telephonic threat in her communication dated 6 Dec 2011.
To her horror, she found on 20 Dec 2011 that illegal connections are given to the trespassers by the WESCO officials on permanent basis sans any meter and inspection of wiring!
This being a potential threat to safety of her house, as she contacted the area JE, she was informed that, he had to give the connections under orders of Behera, the SDO as well as of the area Executive Engineer Sri Bibhudendu Padhi. This information was to her hand on 28 Dec 2011 and instantly she apprised the WESCO CEO of this illegality in her written complaint.
But yet, no action is taken against the illegal users of energy and their collaborators in WESCO!
The WESCO chief is unable to throw any light on this scenario.
It is apparently clear that WESCO has started collaborating with housebreaking by miscreants in absence of legal owners and helping the housebreakers in power hijacking too.