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Government agencies made to ‘sweat’, as Goa cuts off power connections of defaulters

The Goa electricity department has begun snapping the power connections of government offices and establishments, which have uncleared bills of more than Rs 300 crore.

As state power minister Nilesh Cabral drives home the message that no one is exempt from dues, a municipality market complex in the state capital Panaji, a police station and a waterworks plant saw their power supply turned off in over the last four weeks, sending officials scurrying to have the power restored.

“Everybody’s disconnections are being done. Why should government agencies be spared? Just because they are government [agencies] are they exempted?” Cabral asked.

“Our department has to function like a proper department. We are also tightening [our belts]. We are tightening against people who owe us money, we are filing cases, everybody is equal in the light of the law,” the minister said.

While the public works department (PWD), which runs the waterworks plant that supplies potable water to the state capital Panaji, owes the electricity department Rs 30 crore, the Corporation of the City of Panaji owes Rs 5 crore and the Mapusa police station had an uncleared bill of Rs 11 lakh.

Cabral said as they are government departments they don’t have to pay ‘actual money’, but all that was needed to be done was ‘book adjustment’.

“We have told them to do book adjustment. They don’t have to do. The government gives grants in aid, in the case of the municipal corporation. So if they make a resolution and make a letter to us, grant in aid can be diverted to the bill. Every executive engineer or person responsible has to do their work,” Cabral said.

“So for government agencies, there is no issue. Grant in aid can be diverted and we can close the subject,” he added.

Goa spends in the region of Rs 200 crore for the purchase of electricity annually, being a state that is completely dependent on other states for its electricity supply.

The Goa Electricity Department supplies power to the entire state with no private power distribution companies in the state.