End dispute in 3 months: HC to discom,corpn

Rs 60 crore dues Court asks discom not to cut supply to street lights in North Delhi till the dispute is resolved.

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | Published: April 4, 2013 1:22:44 am

Rs 60 crore dues Court asks discom not to cut supply to street lights in North Delhi till the dispute is resolved.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL) and the North Municipal Corporation to resolve their dispute over power dues within three months.

The court issued the direction on a PIL regarding disconnection of supply to street lights in North and Northwest Delhi.

The NDPL had cut off supply to around 45,000 street lights in Ashok Vihar,Rohini,Civil Lines,Wazirabad and adjoining areas on March 25 stating that the North corporation had defaulted on payment of electricity bills to the tune of Rs 60 crore.

The court of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice V K Jain expressed its inability to issue any orders to the two agencies,since the dispute was related to a matter of contractual agreement.

The court held that it would “not be justified” for the court to issue directions and “interfere” in the contractual relationship.

Noting that the question of unpaid bill for public utilities was a “recurring issue”,the court,however,asked the NDPL to refrain from cutting off electricity supply to street lights till the dispute was resolved.

The PIL,filed by advocates Arpit Bhargava and Joby Verghese,alleged that the snapping of power to streetlights not only jeopardised the safety of the people living in the area but also amounted to violation of the fundamental right of citizens living in North Delhi.

“Abrupt and reckless snapping of power supply to 45,000 street lights in six locations in North and Northwest Delhi by NDPL due to non-payment of dues by North Municipal Corporation cannot be allowed to supersede the larger public interest,” the PIL had said.

Advocate Ajay Arora,appearing on behalf of North Municipal Corporation,told the court that the dispute over the payment was due to hiking of tariff by the discom and that the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) had already been approached.

Replying to this,counsel for NDPL,Sumeet Sethi,said it was the civic agency which was at fault as it had not paid the dues. “We don’t produce electricity but purchase and distribute it. How are we supposed to supply the product if the consumer does not pay the money due?” he said.

The discom also said that it had restored power to the street lights after being paid around Rs 16 crore. “Electricity is supplied by the respondent by conditions of service agreement and parties abide by the same. It is not justified for the court to direct the parties to an agreement,” the court said,after the NDPL informed the court that it did not have “any other means” to ensure payment of dues.

The court therefore held that the disconnection of power supply was “due to the fault of the North corporation” since it was the responsibility of the civic agency to provide power to citizens.

Corporations show Rs 313 crore increase in property tax revenue

The property tax department of the three corporations,now almost a year old,has decided to be the first to list out their achievements.

The North,East and South corporations have claimed to have earned more property tax when compared to last year,with the total collection amounting to approximately Rs 1,076 crore against last year’s Rs 763 crore.

This year,North corporation has earned Rs 326.35 crore as against Rs 182 crore in 2012. South corporation has earned Rs 610 crores as against Rs 400 crore in the previous year. East corporation has earned Rs 140 crore against last year’s Rs 69.5 crore. According to officials,the tax collection has improved due to the methods and rigorous exercises adopted by the corporations this year.

“We had introduced incentives for achieving targets,” B N Singh,assessor and collector,South corporation,said. The officials said that corporations have not increased the tax rates but widened its tax net on properties. North corporation now has 50,000 new tax payers under its tax net.

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