In what can be called a bizarre case of negligence, a Chhattisgarh farmer was sent an electricity bill of Rs 76.73 crore and that too for a period of just one month, Hindustan Times reports. The report says that the farmer, a resident of Chhattisgarh’s Mahasamund district, was shocked after he received the whopping bill for the month of September. Speaking to the newspaper, the farmer expressed his disbelief and said that the family uses electricity for domestic use only. In its reaction, the department did admit that it was a technical error and that Prasad’s electricity metre was changed on August 4. They said that change of electricity metre led to the error in reading.
An official said that last reading of the old electricity metre was not entered in the system due to which this bill was generated by the department. He, however, asserted that there is a rule of re-checking of bills and the officials responsible have not checked it properly. Taking note of the incident, the department has suspended two clerks, Garun Kumar and Doj Kumar Devangan, the official said.
He added a new bill of Rs 1,820 has been generated and handed over to the farmer. Earlier, Opposition parties had raised questions over the issue of inflated bills in Assembly and had alleged that bills worth lakhs were being sent to Chhattisgarh farmers.
Amitabh Pal, a local farmer leader, told the newspaper that Prasad’s case was not a one-off issue. Pal added that many small farmers are getting inflated bills in Mahasamund district. He said that authorities only reached at some farmers cases when news of Rs 76 crore broke. He also held “carelessness of clerks” in the department responsible for the problem.