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Home News Power Sector News Adarsh Society scam gets murkier - Power theft suspected

Adarsh Society scam gets murkier - Power theft suspected

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Adarsh Society SCAMIt's a 31-storey-tower, a taller controversy that seems to be growing bigger by the day and a news story which is steadfastly making top headlines. In 2007, when the 31-storey building was still under construction, it consumed barely 200 units of electricity a month!!! Terming this as impossible, BEST officials and experts in the field claimed that construction of such a tall building would use up a minimum of 30,000 to 50,000 units of electricity.

During construction work at a site, BEST provides temporary electricity at a cost of Rs 15 per unit.

An expert said it's impossible that a 31-storey building would consume only 200 units of electricity a month.
The daughter of former BEST general manager, Uttam Khobragade, Devyani, owns a flat in the building.

Khobragade who was general manager of BEST in 2007, sounded annoyed.

"I don't know about it. No electricity is required for construction of a building," said Khobragade who now serves as principal secretary, Tribal Development Department. "It is not the duty of the general manager to look for unit consumption of a building being constructed."

Khobragade helped the society secure additional building rights from the adjacent BEST bus depot. This allowed builders to extend up to 31 floors, from the original six floors.

"Since 2007, we have witnessed manipulation and tampering of the electricity meter and in billing," a senior BEST official said on condition of anonymity. "And whoever tried to intervene was either transferred or suspended."

The official said that an employee who took down monthly meter readings had discovered the fault made a noting of this. "He was transferred with immediate effect," the official said.

While a meter reader notes down the monthly average consumption of electricity, a staffer from the BEST vigilance department is required to visit the site and check if there is any tampering with the meter.

"Vigilance department employees had been strictly instructed not to visit the Adarsh Society site to look for any meter tampering," the official claimed.

The electricity unit consumption document says that the initial load was 25 KW, which was upgraded to 100 KW in a few months.

A higher electricity load could have been called for to power construction machinery that needed more electricity.

"When the load was 25 KW, reading of units consumed was 4,010.

When the load was 100KW, the units consumed surprisingly went down to 200 units, instead of rising," said officials from BEST's electricity department.Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport has issued a notice to the controversial Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society in Colaba, asking it to produce an Occupational Certificate within 24 hours or have its electricity supply disconnected.

"We have issued a notice to Adarsh Society asking them to submit an OC within 24 hours. If they fail to do so we will cut electricity supply of the society," BEST Chairman Sanjay Potnis told PTI.

Expert comments

I think 500 units should be consumed a month at a construction site of 1,000-sq-ft area. For the plot this large, the total electricity consumption will be around 50,000 units.
Ashok Pendse, Power analyst

While working on big projects, I have noticed that it costs about Rs 10 lakh for two years construction work of electricity.
Anand Gupta, General secretary, Builders' Association

Basic calculation is 1,000 units for 10 hours for construction. That would be minimum 30,000 units a month. So, consuming just 200 units a month is impossible.


Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) is in charge of supplying electricity in some parts of Mumbai, including Colaba. Meanwhile, the Hydraulic Department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said it would take a decision on continuing water supply to the building only after receiving a communication from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), that its OC has been revoked.

"We had given water connection to the building only after the MMRDA had given the OC. We are yet to receive written letter from MMRDA that the OC has been revoked. Accordingly, we will take action," a civic official from the department said on condition of anonymity.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan had on Friday directed the MMRDA to revoke the OC of the building. A controversy has erupted over how Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society, originally meant to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil war heroes and widows, got converted into a 31-storey tower through collusion of bureaucrats, politicians and top defence officers.


S M Hakim, Electrical contractor and consultant

Source- Mid day

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