The Puducherry Electricity Department is moving to restore power connection to Kanadurga Castings private limited,a Yanam-based steel company,involved in power theft.
The department is acting in compliance with the Madras High Court order passed by Justice Elipe Dharma Rao on April 2. The HC told the steel company to pay Rs 18 lakh (only one week dues for power theft) instead of `28.55 crore charged by the State government for a year of power theft. Kanadurga had paid the amount and sought re-connection of power supply which was disconnected by the Electricity Department for non-payment of tariff for stolen power.
The industry which started operation in 2002 was permitted to use 3,500KV a day and three patterns of tariff were charged for the usage for a period of one year. The Electricity Department found the power theft in March 2012. Following this, the authorities assessed the tariff of the stolen power to the tune of Rs 28.55 crore. The Electricity Department levied dues for one year as they were unable to find how long the company has been stealing power, officials said.
A case was booked on April 17, 2012 under Section 135 of Electricity Act, 2003. A notice was served to the company by Puducherry electricity executive engineer-II directing it to pay a compounding amount of `7 crore to avoid arrest. But the company paid only Rs 50 lakh and the management refused to take the notice served to the company. Meantime the management of the company moved the High Court against the notice of the Electricity Department. Following this the HC ordered the company to pay a tariff of Rs 18 lakh for the stolen power.
On this issue, AIADMK secretary and MLA A Anbazhagan had earlier stated in the Assembly that the issue needed to be thoroughly investigated. He also said that the company would have been stealing power for the past nine years. He blamed the government for imposing the fine for only one year. The amounting dues to the government would be around 400 crore, he claimed.
It should be noted that the case was taken up only after the AIADMK made several complaints to the Electricity Department. Now the Electricity Department had filed a Special Leave petition in the Supreme Court challenging the HC order in this regard, sources said.