Puneites can ready themselves to face a surcharge in electricity bills, after Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) rejected a long-standing plea of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSDCL) for a concession in digging charges while executing its infrastructure project in the city.
On Friday, the civic body, in its general body meeting, rejected the MSEDCL proposal requesting its road department to provide a concession in digging work for a Rs 950-crore project, which seeks to shift electricity poles and convert low/ high tension overhead distribution networks into underground networks across Pune.
Announced last year, the project is to be finished in steps over three years, while PMC was to fix digging charges to be collected. An impasse over MSEDCL’s request to PMC to accept Rs 2,300 per metre for digging — with a 15 per cent hike year-on-year — has been ongoing for a while now. At Friday’s GB meeting, however, it was finally decided by PMC to charge a full Rs 5,547 per metre instead.
Additional city engineer of PMC’s road department, Vivek Kharvadkar, explained, “The road department put forth the proposal on MSEDCL’s request. Now, as it has been rejected, MSEDCL will pass the surcharge on to consumers to collect additional expenditure paid to the civic body.”
Nilkanth Wadekar, chief engineer of MSEDCL’s Pune circle, said, “After PMC’s rejection of our proposal to cut digging charges, we will approach higher authorities — that is, the state urban development department — to consider our request. We are not earning any revenue from infrastructure work. Our aim is to provide better electricity services with improved infrastructure. All PMC wants is to profit from digging charges.”
Source: Punemirror, 22′ March