In Madhya Pradesh, the electricity department is seizing movable assets– motorbikes, water pumps, tractors and even buffaloes– of defaulters in different districts to recover unpaid power bills.
On Thursday, the Gwalior Municipal Corporation officials reached dairy operator Bal Krishana Pal’s house and seized the only movable asset he had– a buffalo. A video of the officials taking away the buffalo also went viral on social media.
Gwalior civic body executive engineer Sanjay Singh Solanki said, “According to law, we can seize valuables to recover pending bills. At Bal Krishna Pal’s house, we found buffalo so we seized it as a guarantee. We will release it after recovering the pending dues.”
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On Thursday, a motorbike of a veterinary doctor, who had come to treat a buffalo of one Akash Kurmi in Kishanpura village in Sagar district, was seized by the civic body officials thinking it belonged to Kurmi, who has a pending electricity bill of ₹50,000.
Moreover, hundreds of villagers in Sagar, Damoh, Chhatarpur, Panna, Gwalior and Morena districts have got recovery notices with their vehicles seized in many cases.
The MP Pradesh Eastern Area Power Distribution Company Limited has started a drive to recover ₹518 crore of pending power bills before the end of the current financial year.
A civic official said that the administration has stopped the power supply to villages having several defaulters.
Notices have also been served in newspapers and on social media. “Under the recovery process, names of big defaulters have been published in newspapers and pasted at the main government offices,” said LK Namdeo, division executive engineer, Sagar Banda.
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Further, power had been disconnected in 41 villages and 1,700 big defaulters in his division, Namdeo said, adding that the department also froze the bank accounts of about 300 defaulters.
Against the civic body’s recovery drive, people in different areas are staging protests.
Meanwhile, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has asked the power company officials to go slow citing the problems faced by the farmers due to recent hailstorms and rain.