Threatening strict action against those indulging in theft of electricity, Power Minister Piyush Goyal today said it is “industries” as well as “big people” and not the poor who are involved in the pilferage.
“Bribes are offered to linesmen and department officials, and may be politicians are also involved in it,” Goyal said here at the 2-day conference of power ministers of states and Union territories.
He called for taking action against those involved in power theft saying it will benefit the common man.
He said: “I would like to mention that this is not the issue concerning the poor people. Don’t think that you will be politically affected if you take action against the power theft. Poor persons are not involved in the theft. Farmers don’t do it because they get it cheap or free power.
“Maximum theft is in the field of industries and by big people. I feel there is a political benefit in stopping the theft because by doing that you will be able to reduce the electricity bill of the common man.”
He added: “If you do your job honestly and if you are able to convey to people that what you are doing is for their benefit, then I can assure you that politically there is a great benefit in curbing power theft.”
The Union minister also hailed the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his stint as Gujarat Chief Minister in converting the loss making power sector into a profit yielding one.
“I have learnt this from Gujarat. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, in the first year itself he began a crackdown on electricity theft. This was in the year 2002 and Modi faced criticism,” he said.
“Around one lakh FIRs were filed and even BJP workers were put behind bars. But due to that step, Modi managed to improve the power scenario in the state,” Goyal stated.
“The electricity companies in Gujarat were suffering losses of Rs 2,500 crore when Modiji became Chief Minister 14 years ago. Within a short span he was able to convert that loss into a profit, probably in two or three years without increasing power tariff,” the minister said.
“Over the years, the lowest increase in tariff has been in Gujarat and yet it is in profit, making it a self sustaining power sector,” he added.