Times of India | 1 week ago | 13-05-2022 | 01:55 am
Margao: An elderly woman, bedridden on account of an autoimmune disease, endured the rigmarole of bureaucratic wrangles, and fought on and won the battle against the state’s electricity department for excessive billing for energy not consumed by her, her flat having been closed and unoccupied. The electricity department’s Consumers Grievances Redressal Forum, Vasco, in its order, set aside her bills that had accumulated to Rs 21,697 over a five month-period on account of the malfunctioning meter and ordered issuance of revised bills that totalled just Rs 679. Sheetal Sadekar (name changed to protect identity), a resident of Dhavali, Ponda, was aggrieved by a “sudden and unexplained jump” in energy consumption around June 2021, though her flat had remained closed and unoccupied since May 2019. She would usually be billed a minimum amount of about Rs 100 until June 2021 when she received a bill of Rs 873 despite the mains having been switched off. While she took up the matter with the electricity department and vigorously pursued it, the bills for the subsequent months kept increasing until the arrears accumulated to Rs 21,697 in December 2021. As her battle with officialdom in the electricity department failed to resolve the issue, the disabled woman knocked on the doors of the Consumers Grievances Redressal Forum. After hearing the parties through a video conference, the consumer forum noted that the consumption details furnished by the electricity department indicated that while the average consumption between February 2021 and May 2021 was about 5 units per billing cycle, there was a sudden jump to 483 units between May 9, 2021 and June 19, 2021, that kept growing exponentially to 1,659 units recorded on November 16, 2021. After the meter was replaced on November 17, 2021, the consumption dropped to zero units until the last meter reading on February 6, 2022. “The statistics provided by the department unmistakably point to an anomaly in functioning of the meter from June 2021 onwards,” the order noted. “The department relies on Meter Relay Testing (MRT) reports that twice returned a finding that the meter was okay. The testing ought to have been done in the presence of the consumer as required under the Supply Code, which procedure was not followed in this case. Secondly, the consumption recorded by the old and new meters cannot be brushed aside and conclusively point to malfunctioning of the meter from around June 2021 onwards.” Stating that the impugned bills issued between June 2021 and November 2021 cannot be sustained, the Forum headed by chairperson Ashley Noronha and member Sandra Vaz e Correia passed an order setting aside the five bills. “The said bills shall be revised based on average consumption recorded in three billing cycles post installation of the new meter on November 17, 2021. Fresh bills shall be issued to the consumer,” the order read. Complying with the order, the electricity department issued revised bills to the woman totalling Rs 679 only, awarding her victory in the battle for justice that she fought confined to her sickbed.
Vasco: Following parts of Vasco and Mormugao talukas suffering a 21-hour power outage after a gas pipeline contractor accidentally damaged three 33kV underground cables, Mormugao Congress MLA Sankalp Amonkar questioned if the works had the necessary permissions for road digging. Amonkar demanded that the contractor be fined for the damages and strict action be initiated against him for damage caused to public property and losses incurred by businesses, besides the inconvenience posed to the public. Locals from Mormugao constituency and part of Vasco constituency went without power for almost 22 hours due to the damage caused to the three major underground cables. Amonkar night along with his supporters reviewed the ongoing repair works of the underground cables on Thursday. The Mormugao MLA also raised doubts about the safety of the underground gas pipeline. He said that in the past due to NAFTA pipeline blasts many people had lost their lives and got injured.
Vasco: Verna police arrested Kishan Kalangutkar, 26, a resident of New Vaddem, Vasco, in connection with the murder of a 19-year-old girl whose body was found at Velsao beach on Thursday. Diya Naik, who was also from New Vaddem, went missing from Wednesday evening. Her family said that she didn’t come home. Kalangutkar and Naik were friends, police said. SP (South Goa) Abhishek Dania tweeted, “Blind murder case of Miss Diya Naik r/o New Vaddem Vasco solved within 24 hrs by South District team. Accused apprehended. Further investigation is in progress”. Vasco DySP Nilesh Rane said that the body of the girl was found at Velsao beach with stab injuries. Although he refused to divulge more details, Rane said that the investigation is in progress and police are probing the case from all angles. A source said that the body was found in the bushes and the crime appeared to have taken place on Wednesday. Verna PI Diago Gracias is investigating the case under the supervision of Rane.
Panaji: Director general of police (DGP) Jaspal Singh on Thursday felicitated two students, Sakshi Ishwar Kale and Nimrit Pasricha for sporting excellence. Kale, a student of GVM SNJA Higher Secondary School, Farmagudi, won the top position at the 20th national para-athletic championship held in Bhubaneshwar. Pasricha, a student at Naval Children School, Vasco has been selected to represent India at the Asian junior squash championship to be held at Pattaya, Thailand next month. Singh said that Goa Police will reach out to initiative of an outreach with promising youth within the state to spread an image of showcase a people-friendly force and to celebrate achievements of the younger generation.
Panaji: The maintenance of fishing jetties in Goa may be done annually during the off-season, however, this time, the Vasco Fishing Association has demanded that their jetty be not just repaired but also be extended to 100m. They have submitted a proposal to fisheries minister Nilkanth Halarnkar to extend the jetty for the convenience of the 200 boats that operate from there. “The Vasco fishing jetty is in dire need of attention. We have 200 boats that dock at the 60m area,” the association members said. Stating that the repairs at the Vasco jetty were delayed due to the pandemic, Halarnkar said, “Those will be soon taken up. There are only a few days left for the fishing ban comes into force, so necessary inspections and repair works can be taken up. However, extension of the jetty will invite CRZ and NGT violations.” The boat operators also demanded that the state government provide relief on VAT on the diesel as well. “The government sanctioned VAT on diesel comes to about Rs 6. With diesel prices rising, the operation of fishing vessels is becoming difficult,” they said. On this, the fisheries minister said, “As far as the VAT subsidy is concerned, I have assured them that there will be a discussion on the subject and accordingly we will take a decision.” The Vasco Fishing Association submitted a proposal to the fisheries minister to extend the jetty for the convenience of the 200 boats that operate from there
Vasco: Revolutionary Goans (RG) and BJP are engaged claiming credit for getting locals employment at the Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL). Even as RG said that GSL has assured them of giving jobs to Goans, Vasco BJP MLA Krishna ‘Daji’ Salkar and BJP functionaries stated that it was their efforts that played a major role in highlighting the employment issue. On Wednesday, RG’s Tukaram ‘Manoj’ Parab and St Andre MLA Viresh Borkar met the management of GSL to discuss the matter of employment opportunities for Goans. Parab and Borkar said that the shipyard’s management has assured them to give priority to recruiting Goans. They said that, according to available information, over 600 jobs had opened up at GSL, but only 30% Goans were employed. In other central government shipyards in other states, local people with knowledge of the local language are given preference during recruitment, but at GSL this is not happening, RG said. Parab and Borkar also stressed on the need for imparting training in technical skill to Goan youth. Meanwhile, the Vasco MLA posted on his official social media page: “Grateful to chief minister Goa Pramod P Sawant for calling this meeting on our request with T N Sudhakar CMD (addl charge) and HR head Goa Shipyard Ltd to address long-pending issues pertaining to local employment.”