The tug-of-war between the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) escalated on Friday with the power utility disconnecting supply to a civic school and a citizen facilitation centre (CFC) of the civic body in Kasba Peth for non-payment of Rs 2 lakh pending dues and the civic body striking back by sealing the office of MSEDCL over non-payment of property tax dues of Rs 19 lakh.
On Friday afternoon, the MSEDCL disconnected the power supply to the school and CFC, bringing to a standstill the work at the CFC, which mainly facilitates payment of property bills by citizens.
Shortly adter that, the property tax department of PMC that is conducting a drive against defaulters, citing non-payment of property tax bill for three years amounting to Rs 19 lakh as reason, sealed the office of the power utility.
“The MSEDCL has failed to pay property tax of its Kasba Peth office for three years, amounting to around Rs 19 lakh. The PMC did not take action hoping they will pay the bill. However, the same MSEDCL office cut power supply to the school and CFC for delay in payment of electricity bills. This was uncalled for as they should not have taken the extreme step of disconnecting power supply,” said Hemant Nikam, PMC Property Tax Collection and Assessment Officer.
On the other hand, the MSEDCL staff opposed the civic staff who initiated the action of sealing their office. They tried to block the civic staff from performing their duty but later gave in after the civic staff threatened to call police.
They later approached the local corporator of the area urging him to direct the PMC staff to remove the seal of MSEDCL office saying it was hampering them from ensuring power supply to nearby areas.
They complained that the PMC staff “had switched off power supply”.
Nikam said, “The allegations are baseless as the civic staff only sealed the office and didn’t even touch anything else. There is no reason for the civic staff to touch the control panel of the MSEDCL as we don’t even have technical staff in the department.”
The MSEDCL and the PMC had been in a tug-of-war of late over road-digging charges. Onbly days ago, the MSEDCL had warned of increasing power tariff and cancelling its infrastructure development project of replacing overhead electric cables with underground cables in the city as the PMC had increased charges, to be paid by any digging of roads for laying down power cables and other utilities, from Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,600 per metre.