Govt to clear Rs 500 cr power dues as ‘notional payment’

ABID BASHIR

Srinagar, Mar 25: The Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to clear electricity dues worth Rs 500 crores through a ‘notional payment mode’ by March end, Greater Kashmir has learnt.
 Reliable sources said the pending dues with different government departments, ministers and bureaucrats are being cleared through a mechanism where funds would be deemed to have been paid to the Power Development Department. This, the sources said, is technically referred to as the ‘notional payment mode.’
 Sources said the government took a decision to this effect recently in consultation with the Finance Department. The move comes following criticism faced by the government for a major defaulter in clearing the electricity dues.
 A senior PDD officer admitted that the government has decided to liquidate all power dues amounting to Rs 500 crores by March 31 through the notional payment mode. “Though the amount won’t be directly credited into the PDD account, the money will be deemed as paid,” the officer said.
 He said the government establishments including departments, official accommodations of legislators, their private offices and residences were among major defaulters on account of power dues.
 Asked what the fun of such a payment was if it doesn’t directly go into PDD’s kitty, the PDD officer said “a special budgetary mechanism has been put in place by the Finance department that would pave way for enhancement of budgetary allocations in lieu of accepting the notional-payment mode. We will get the money but in an indirect manner.”
 Noted economist Prof Nisar Ali said the notional-payment mode is acceptable in case the government slashes the budgetary allocations of the defaulting departments and enhances the same in favour of PDD. “Only then we can say PDD is in a win-win situation; otherwise there is no benefit of such deals,” he said. “Under this system, book adjustment is done and the amount is considered to be paid, though it is not debited in the treasuries.”
 PDD sources said Jammu and Kashmir pays Rs 3100 crores to the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) on account of “power liability” each year. “In 2012-13, revenue collection rate has been quite satisfactory as PDD has realized the revenue of Rs 1100 crore in the State,” they said.
 They said after assessing the situation it was observed that on one hand people have developed a sense of seriousness in clearing the electricity dues but on the other government departments continue to be major defaulters. “It was observed that government departments, ministers, MLAs, officers owe Rs 470 to Rs 500 crore to PDD. This is a huge amount that could revamp the entire power sector in the State,” they said.
 An official in the Finance department said that government had already realized the need of clearing the power dues and kept some budgetary provisions including the notional payment mode, which would help enhance the annual budgetary allocations of PDD. “That way, PDD would be able to receive additional funds,” he said.
 Interestingly, the State Legislative Assembly was recently informed that government departments apart, many ministers and at least 55 MLAs owe Rs 36 lakh power fee to the PDD. At the same time, the total outstanding against the security forces is Rs 65.18 crores.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 25 Mar 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 25 Mar 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 26 Mar 2013 00:00:00 IST




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