The Cabinet is expected to clear the amendments shortly given the seriousness imparted to it by the Prime Ministers Office. In a October 29 letter to the ministry, the PMO said, The note relating to amendments may be brought to the Cabinet by mid-November positively.
The final Cabinet note alongwith the draft Electricity Amendment Bill 2005 was forwarded by the power ministry to the Cabinet secretariat on November 16.
At present, Section 6 of the Act says, The appropriate government shall endeavour to supply electricity to all areas including villages and hamlets. It has been amended to read, Both the Centre and states would jointly endeavour to provide electricity access to all areas including villages and hamlets through rural electricity infrastructure and electrification of households.
The concern expressed by the Left parties and some states on Section 6 of the Act was that the onus of providing electricity supply to rural areas was put only on states and that the Centre must chip in.
Lastly, Section 151 of the Act has been amended to clarify that the police would be able to investigate cognizable offences (theft of electricity, electricity lines and interference of meters) under the Act.
However, no prosecution shall be instituted for any offence under the Act except at the instance of the appropriate government/commission.