Saturday, July 4, 2009

BSES to appeal against withdrawal of CISF security

BSES logoNearly everyone knows that a large part of unbilled electricity goes to electricity theft, not only in Delhi, this situation prevails all over India. These power robbers do not fear anyone, not even local police. For curbing power theft Central Industrial Security Force cover was provided to the distribution companies for performing their task efficiently. But now in a decision, government wants to pull back this cover. In such a situation how could we blame distribution companies, for not being able to stop this menace…..?

Calling it a setback, Power Company BSES Friday said it would appeal against the move to withdraw the paramilitary Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) security cover from power distribution companies.

We plan to appeal to the authorities concerned against the order (which came two days ago). Under the agreement, the services of the CISF had been provided to the distribution companies (discoms) for a five-year period. Its not fair for the service to be withdrawn after just a two-three year period, said a senior BSES official.

The official said that CISF’s withdrawal - a move BSES says it came to know of two days ago - is a violation of the Supreme Court order and is a huge setback to the success of public-private-partnerships in Delhi's power sector. CISF comes under the central home ministry.

In 2004, the Supreme Court had passed an order directing the state and union governments to provide the necessary security to the officials of discoms - NDPL (North Delhi Power Limited) and BSES - as required by them for anti-theft drives.

Each of the Delhi discoms had been provided a CISF company comprising 114 personnel to assist their enforcement teams in drives against power theft.

We were earlier told that the CISF cover is only being withdrawn on a temporary basis - till the elections are over. This decision has been a total shock to us. This will be a huge setback for us, in our drive against power theft.

“This decision may undo all the good work done by BSES on the power theft front in the last two to three years. Sans any protection now, we may not be able carry out raids in many of the power theft areas, the BSES official added.

When asked about the issue, a home ministry official said they are examining the matter.
We are examining the matter. We hope that we would arrive at a conclusion very soon, a home ministry official told .

Officials of the BSES on enforcement drives claim to have often faced physical attacks from mobs and anti-social elements during their anti-power theft drives. Discoms, including the BSES, had often requested Delhi Police to provide personnel but the already pressed force wasn’t available all the time.

The allotment of CISF to Delhi discoms gave the much needed impetus to discoms anti-power theft drives. Now they could go to areas, where they could not go earlier. With the CISF by their side, Delhi discoms were able to reduce AT & C losses to 20 percent (from a high of 63 percent in 2002), another BSES official claimed.

Under the agreement, each of the discoms had to bear an annual expense of around Rs.1.25 crore for getting the services of the CISF, in addition to providing them with accommodation and paying for their arms and ammunition