Haryana’s top government departments are among the biggest defaulters when it comes to paying power bills. The departments have evaded power bills worth over Rs 672 crore, according to data from the state’s power department, for over a decade in some cases.
Going by the data, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, the Irrigation department owes over Rs 325 crore in power bills – with the Rewari circle department owing the highest at over Rs 167 crore followed by Bhiwani circle with dues of Rs 96 crore.
Second in the line is the water works department which has pending bills to the tune of Rs 163 crore. All the tubewell connections fall under this category. Those in Palwal circle owe the highest at around Rs 23 crore, followed by Rewari, Bhiwani, Hisar and Yamunanagar circles.
The street lights too are running on the grace of the power department. Over Rs 122 crore is yet to be paid by the Municipal Corporations and Rewari circle has a bill of over Rs 53 crore in this category. Panchayats of the state too have defaulted to the tune Rs 14 crore.
Other government institutions like the police department and hospitals owe Rs 47 crore to the state. Gurgaon and Bhiwani circles are the top defaulters from the police department, with Rs 8.5 crore outstanding bills.
Power authorities claim that they regularly asked the government to pay off the dues – some of which are decades old. Ashok Kumar Meena, Director Panchayats said that he will examine the issue. “They (Panchayats) do get grants under various central schemes. I will direct them to pay off the dues,” he said.
Engineer in Chief of the irrigation department, AK Gupta said, “Most dues have been paid. These might be some of them which are left.”
Alok Nigam, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) holding the charge of Public health said that he had spoken to the finance department regarding paying of dues. “Though no water connection was disconnected (as the department had not paid off the dues) but we are speaking with the finance department to pay off the existing bills.”
Anil Kumar, Principal Secretary to Government of Haryana, heading the Urban local bodies department, said, “We will ensure that the dues are paid. Infact most of the government departments in the state do not pay property tax too.”
Pawan Kalra, Director (Operations) of Uttar Haryana Bijli Vidyut Nigam Limited, said that regular meetings were held with the government departments to pay off the dues.
Director, Operations, Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vidyut Nigam Limited (DHBVNL), R K Batra from Hisar told The Indian Express, f“ Sometimes these departments cite paucity of funds but of course that isnt the reason not to pay the bills. Our official has been following it up by sending regular notices. “