Panaji: The state electricity department has served notices to government departments and offices numbering over 1,200 across Goa to pay power dues to the tune of Rs 63 crore which is pending for years.
According to highly-placed sources, a total of 1,271 government departments and offices have been issued notices as they have failed to clear the dues which include that for permanent as well as temporary connections.
Opa water works at Khandepar in Ponda which comes under the jurisdiction of the Public Works Department is one of the defaulters and owes the highest dues of Rs 28 crore followed by the Corporation of City of Panaji who has to pay Rs 6 crore for the power supplied to Panaji municipal market as per the official records of the department.
“The department has given 15 days from the receipt of their respective notice to all the defaulters to clear the dues failing which we will disconnect the power supply to their premises and initiate legal action as per the law of the land and the department,” the sources said.
Speaking to this daily, PWD Minister Deepak Pauskar assured to clear the pending dues for the power supply to the Opa water works site adding an inquiry will be initiated so as to ascertain the reasons as to why his department has failed to pay the power tariffs on time.
“Yes we are one of the consumers and we ought to pay for what we consume. I will get the pending dues cleared; in fact, I have sought details from the concerned executive engineer. I will see that the individuals who are responsible for this are taken to task,” Pauskar said.
CCP Mayor Uday Madkaikar claimed that power connection to the Panaji market was availed by Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation while undertaking the construction work of the complex and till today the bills are received in the name of GSIDC, adding he questioned how the city Corporation can pay the huge amount alone.
“We have written to the government and the electricity department to bifurcate the bills as we can’t pay for the units consumed while the market was being constructed. We have urged the government to waive off the interest levied on the bills for the delay in the payment as it runs into crores and also provide us financial support to clear the bills,” the city Mayor said.
Power Minister Nilesh Cabral has said that the dispute between the CCP and GSIDC was not the lookout of the electricity department adding if the unpaid dues are not cleared within the stipulated time, then the power supply will be disconnected by the department.
“Only a few government departments and offices pay the bills by depositing cash directly. The case of Mapusa police station was negligence on part of the police department. In many cases, they have to do just book adjustment from their department budget to the electricity department budget. Not all government offices or departments have to actually pay the bills,” Cabral said.
“My department doesn’t generate power on its own we have to buy it from outside state so if we don’t pay them in time then they can stop the supply to Goa. Hence, it is important for every consumer including government departments to pay the electricity bills on time,” he added.