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Electricity Co powerless in Godhra

Electricity Co powerless in Godhra

Author: Robin David
Publication: The Times of India
Date: August 9, 2005
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1196158.cms

No electricity utility can afford 90 per cent residents of a locality not paying their electricity bills for years together. In normal circumstances, the company would swoop down on the residents and snap supply till they pay up. But the Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) finds itself helpless in Godhra - Ground Zero of the 2002 communal riots.

This town of barely two lakh is responsible for the Nigam losing nearly Rs 6 crore every year. There are feeders here that run up losses of up to 90 per cent, something the officials say, is unheard of in the country.

And yet, the Nigam claims, it is wary of taking action against defaulters. Not because they are influential persons, but because most defaulters are from the minority community, belonging to areas like Saat Pul, Polan Bazar and Nava Bazar.

After the Sabarmati carnage, where the minorities were blamed for killing 59 passengers including Ram sevaks, any crackdown might be seen as a "communal move". This is something the BJP government does not want to rake up at a time when it is projecting the state as an investmentfriendly destination.

Minority community members, however, allege that they are being "punished" with frequent power cuts for what happened on the train.

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