Officials of the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) have said they have launched a drive to find out whether Ganesh mandals in Pimpri-Chinchwad are using illegal power connections and will book those found stealing electricity.
Over 1000 mandals have installed Ganesh idols this year under the jurisdiction of Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) and 1,600 under the Pimpri-Chinchwad police commissionerate. And only 30 Ganesh mandals in Pimpri-Chinchwad have taken authorised connections from the MSEDCL.
Of the two MSEDCL divisions in Pimpri-Chinchwad, 24 Ganesh mandals have authorised electricity connection under the one in Bhosari and in the Pimpri division, only six have taken permission.
MSEDCL spokesperson Bharat Pawar said if any Ganesh mandal has taken electricity from a household, a residential building or a commercial building and the power is metered, then they do not take action against such mandals. “But if the electricity is taken from our poles or lines directly, then it is illegal. Similarly, if it is taken from PCMC poles, it is illegal. Any electricity that is unmetered amounts of power theft,” said Pawar.
Pawar said their squads will be moving around the industrial area from Thursday to find out the illegal connections. “Once we find out that electricity was being stolen from our lines, then we will be filing FIR against such Ganesh mandals,” he said.
Meanwhile, the PCMC has set up helpline numbers for Ganesh mandals in the backdrop of the ongoing Ganesh Chaturthi festivities. The helpline numbers are—20267333333 and 8888006666. It has also issued guidelines for Ganesh mandals to be followed in connection with their pandals and electricity.
The PCMC electricity department said if there is any loss of lives or damage to property due to mandals taking illegal connections, the civic body will not be responsible for it.
PCMC Joint City Engineer Sanjay Khabde said, “The PCMC has set up electricity poles in public places, roads and near various buildings and hospitals. We are undertaking their maintenance from time to time. Against the backdrop of the Ganesh festival, we have undertaken an inspection of all the street lights. If any mandal is taking illegal connection which results in loss of life and damage to property, PCMC will not be responsible for it.”
Khabde said if citizens find any issue with street electricity, they should immediately alert the PCMC helpline numbers or MSEDLC.
Meanwhile, Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Singh has directed officials to put all safety measures in place for Ganesh idol immersions that will take place over a period of 10 days.
A day before the Ganesh idols were installed by the mandals, the civic body chief went around the industrial city along with top officials and inspected the ghat areas along the Pavana river. The civic chief directed officials to ensure adequate lifeguards are posted at all river ghats where immersions will take place. He also asked the officials of the Disaster Management Cell to remain alert.
Urging residents to avoid using plastic, Singh asked officials to make arrangements for collecting nirmalaya while issuing directions for keeping the ghat sections neat and clean where mandals and families perform ‘aarti’ before immersing the Ganesh idols.