CERC summons PDD bosses on non-payment of dues

CERC summons PDD bosses on non-payment of dues

As per the Northern Regional Power Committee data, Jammu and Kashmir needs to clear dues of around Rs 196 crore.

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has summoned officials of the Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Department for defaulting in payment of excess electricity drawn from the National Grid at various intervals in the past two years.

A senior PDD official told Greater Kashmir that the CERC has summoned top officials of PDD for non-payment of Rs 196 crore for ‘overdrawal’ of electricity.

As per the Northern Regional Power Committee data, Jammu and Kashmir needs to clear dues of around Rs 196 crore.

The CERC summon has been issued after the Northern Region Load Dispatch Center approached the CERC—the regulatory authority between electricity supplying entities—on the defaulters.

PDD officials blame the state’s financial crisis for not being able to clear the outstanding dues of the Northern Grid. “There is hardly any payment released by our treasuries these days which has resulted in accumulation of bills that have otherwise already been passed by the PDD and certified by the concerned agencies,” a senior PDD official said. “Our job is to clear and certify bills, it’s then the Finance department’s responsibility to pay those bills to the respective entities.”

Chief Engineer PDD (Commercial and Survey), Khurshid Ahmad downplayed the issue, saying “summons issued by the CERC is a routine procedure.”

“We have the received summon which states that our pending bill is Rs 196 crore, but as per our estimate we owe only 59 crore to the National Grid on account of overdrawal of electricity,” he told Greater Kashmir.

He said: “Of Rs 59 crore we have already cleared Rs 39 crore. But we don’t know whether these bills have been further cleared by the treasuries or not.”

The CERC, he said, as a regulatory authority keeps on issuing summons “to arbitrate issues between the PDD and the National Grid.”

A senior Finance department official said bills worth over Rs 300 crore on purchase of power are pending with the state government “due to non-release of Plan funds by the central government.”

Jammu and Kashmir is facing worst-ever financial crisis with liabilities swelling to Rs 2700 crore due to non-payment of plan and other funds by the Centre.

During the past one week, liabilities in the state treasuries have increased from Rs 2200 crore to Rs 2700 crore with officials cautioning “if the funds are not soon released by the Centre, there is every possibility that developmental works in the state will be badly hit.”

As of now contractors’ bills have already touched Rs 900 crore while the GPF bills are hovering around Rs 800 crore.

J&K Governor NN Vohra has formally written to the Union Finance Minister ArunJaitley on the state’s “grave financial crisis”, seeking his intervention to tide over it.