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Bill waiver may disrupt entire power system: State tells HC

  • The government on Tuesday pleaded before the Orissa high court that electricity bill waiver would have a cascading effect on the entire power generation, transmission and distribution set up in the state. The court was hearing a petition seeking waiver of energy charges for the self-employed domestic consumers and demand charges for the commercial consumers owing to the coronavirus lockdown.

  • In a counter affidavit, the state government said the Grid Corporation of Odisha (Gridco) — a trader — first receives the power from generating companies and then supplies it to distribution companies (Discoms) at bulk supply price (BSP) along with transmission charges. The Gridco then pays the generating companies.

  • “The entire sector is interdependent and any type of concession to the consumers will have a cascading effect on the entire set up,” Bikramaditya Barik, joint secretary at the office of special relief commissioner, said in the affidavit.

  • “Looking at the financial condition of the distribution companies, any waiver would lead them into a financial crisis,” the affidavit said while seeking rejection of the waiver. Prahallad Rout (82), the petitioner, had sought monthly tuition fee waiver for the students of schools and colleges in his PIL petition.

  • The affidavit pointed out that the Justice for the Rights Foundation had recently filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking directions to the States/Union Territories pertaining to private and public colleges for providing relief, waiver, or moratorium on the academic fees for the next semester and restricting them from asking for a lumpsum amount from the students.

  • The Supreme Court on May 8 had declined to entertain the matter and dismissed the petition, Barik said in the affidavit. Advocate Ranjan Kumar Rout argued for the Prahallad’s case. The court had taken up the petition for hearing through videoconferencing along with two other petitions. One by the Odisha Abhibhabak Mahasangha and the other by Mohammad Mustaq Ansari. Both sought the exemption of tuition fees by private schools in the state for the month of April.

  • The division bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Sanju Panda posted the petition to June 11 for hearing.

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