Digital meter Assam's latest political issue

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Guwahati, Nov 8 (UNI) The digital electricity meter, introduced by the Assam Government, is fast snowballing into a major political issue and the government today rejected all demands of scrapping the installation of these meters.

''It is quite frustrating. We are introducing a new technology, trying to plug the loopholes of distribution and raise more revenue to financially strengthen the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) but some of our own employees are feeding the media and opposition political parties, for their own vested interest,'' said Power Minister Pradyut Bardoloi, while addressing a news conference today.

The Opposition parties are alleging that these digital meters are faulty, they show inflated readings and are supplied by the relatives of the Power Minister. They have decided to make it the main issue in the coming Assembly session.

''These meters came as a part of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) package to revive the ASEB. It is of the highest standard, implemented in various states of India. But the sudden huproar over the issue is nothing but created by a some ASEB workers who have been manipulating the readings of the old electro-magnetic meters and making money,'' Mr Bordoloi said.

Challenging both the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Left parties for an open debate, he said the Assam Government has asked the Central Power Research Institute to make a random check of the meters.

''This is most unfortunate. No one can stop advancement of technology. A section's interest is going to be hurt and they are going to object, but we are not bothered,'' said Mr Bardoloi.

'' The main opposition to the meters is of paying high bills.

There is nothing wrong in it. The old meters were bad and after a decade they lost their efficiency. Moreover, they were tempered with.

These new meters was temper-proof and even small usage of clectricity like mobile recharging is also picked up. Hence the bills are going up. But if there was any doubt, the ASEB will test the meter without any charge'' he assured.

Assam produces around 200MW and the remaining power they import from NEEPCO, NTPC and other sources. ''But their aggregate loss of power is an astounding 50 per cent'' said Mr Bardoloi.

''Ironically till 2004, there were no electricity metering because a section of the ASEB have been using the board as personal property to make money. Now they cannot do it because of the digitalisation and hence they are propagating all false news. We are going to take action against them,'' he stated.

UNI

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