Uninterrupted power supply which today is a luxury and if the Union Government’s voluntary turnaround plan for discoms, which got off to a flying start with 15 major states coming on board last year turns out a reality then it will be an everyday affair. The move also would make the discom staff more responsive and pay closer attention to checking theft so that honest consumers don’t end up paying for power stolen by unscrupulous elements who tamper with meters or use hooks to tap into supply lines. The template MoU – to be signed by the Centre, state government and discom – for joining Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojna, recognises the value of the last man in the distribution chain and sets accountability for each stage. The template, to be tailored according to each state’s needs, would turn each area in the network – called ‘circle’ in industry parlance – into a separate business unit. Jammu and Kashmir is seeing the part of this revolution with the laying of new power lines which would have a check on the power pilferage through unauthorized connections like ‘Kundis’ or drawls more than sanctioned load. Under the MoU, the discom provider, would be responsible for meeting the supply target, maintain and strengthen the lines to plug power loss, checking theft besides raising and collecting bills. And the circle heads better deliver. That’s because the milestones for improvement in the tripartite MoU would have been prescribed by the state government on the basis of inputs from each of them as to what is practically doable in the area. No wonder, the MoU goes down to setting targets for each circle, which is expected to indirectly make linemen responsible for each pole to check the pilferages and at the same time he can be encouraged with some incentive. It is this “pole-up” approach that differentiates UDAY from previous discom packages and promises to work out this time. States themselves are prescribing targets according to their comfort levels. It is their plan. Centre is only there to hand-hold them.
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