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40 pc of Delhi's power is stolen

May 05, 2006 05:27 PM IST India India
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New Delhi: What the labyrinth of narrow lanes at Wazirpur Industrial Area hide is invisible to any but a trained eye.

Well concealed and with easy access to cheap labour, these areas are a haven for illegal factories.

In a three-hour raid conducted by the NDPL enforcement team, four small scale units were uncovered and booked. One of the units held in the raid makes joysticks for video games.

Another one is involved in stealing electricity. "Units like these steal enough power to light upover 50 houses," says GM Enforcement, NDPL, SK Das.

During the power raids, NDPL enforcement officials recovered electricity wires that were enough to fill eight trucks - about 25 metric tonnes.

Delhi loses over 40 per cent of electricity to theft. In fact, two of its private distribution companies have booked over 40,000 people on this charge.

Unofficial figures say a higher proportion of the theft - about 60 per cent - is by domestic users; industries and slums steal the rest.

Private distribution companies complain enforcement is a problem and that do not get enough police support during raids.

The Supreme Court says Delhi needs at least five special courts for speedy disposal of electricity cases. But there are just two judges - who also handle other thefts. This has lead to a huge backlog of cases.

Awareness drives, coupled with strong enforcement, is the only way to rid Delhi of this malaise.