On Tuesday, May 16, Adani Electricity Mumbai Board gave a befitting reply to the NDTV journalist who reported that the Board had sent electricity bills amounting to lakhs to the residents of Siddharth Colony area in Mumbai’s Chembur. NDTV Journalist Sohit Mishra in his report stated that 3200 families living in the slums of Chembur were slapped with electricity bills amounting to lakhs.
“How much electricity bill do you pay? 5000? 10,000? The Bill of one family in Chembur is 35 lakhs!! Due to non-payment of bills, they are forced to live without electricity throughout the day. Administration, developer and electricity department have duped them”, he tweeted.
आप बिजली का कितना बिल भरते हैं? 5000?10,000?— sohit mishra (@sohitmishra99) May 16, 2022
चेम्बूर के झुग्गियों में रहने वाले 3200 परिवारों को लाखों रुपयों का बिल आता है..एक परिवार का बिल तो 35 लाख है!! बिल नहीं भरने पर दिनभर गर्मी में बिना बिजली के इन्हें रहना पड़ रहा है..प्रशासन, डेवेलपर और बिजली विभाग ने इन्हें फंसाया है pic.twitter.com/Z2dmv4rE8k
Following the fraudulent report, the Adani Electricity Board on May 16 issued a statement and slammed the NDTV journalist for misleading the viewers. “The video is highly misleading and presents a distorted view of the Truth. The fact is that these bills are of 16 years of arrears. Siddharth Colony residents stopped paying their bills on the pretext that the developers had promised to pay for their electricity”, the statement read.
The journalist however, in the series of tweets kept on arguing that the Adani Group who acquired the Mumbai electricity distribution business from Reliance Energy in 2017 had duped the consumers by issuing hefty electricity bills. He defended his video report and said that nobody from the Adani group was ready to speak on camera. “No one from your team was ready to speak on camera, have mentioned everything you said. Please see”, he addressed the Board.
Dear @Adani_Elec_Mum would advise you to watch the entire report, the link has been posted here. Have mentioned all the points that you have said too. No one from your team was ready to speak on camera, have mentioned everything you said. Please seehttps://t.co/FK12B93DK9— sohit mishra (@sohitmishra99) May 17, 2022
In response, the Board said that it had issued a statement only after watching the entire video report. “Our written statement addresses every point it raises and we are happy to connect with you offline as well to satisfy any pending clarity. We’d be happy to reach out and relay the facts”, the Board tweeted.
Meanwhile, the Board in its statement revealed that the residents had not paid the electricity bills for past 16 years. “After taking over from the Reliance Energy, Adani Electricity in good faith had requested the residents to first start paying their electricity bills. However, the residents continued to default on payment and also hindered our operations”, it added.
Our written statement addresses every point it raises and we are happy to connect with you offline as well to satisfy any pending clarity. Please do send us your contact information and we’d be happy to reach out and relay the facts.(2/2)— Adani Electricity (@Adani_Elec_Mum) May 17, 2022
It also slammed the residents for believing that they could consume electricity for free at the cost of others. “As previously stated, Siddharth Colony residents have been advised to clear their dues immediately to avail further services”, the statement reiterated.
It is important to note that the electricity board in Maharashtra has policy to cut the electricity supply of the residence whose owner/tenant keeps the arrears of the electricity bill for 3 months or more. The board seeks payment of the bill before the deadline or switches off the power supply in interest of the regular bill-paying customers.
Earlier, Opindia had reported that the Siddharth Colony in Mumbai’s Chembur had plunged into darkness due to non-payment of electricity bills worth Rs 99 crore. The residents of the colony had staged protests as the Adani Electricity Board had disconnected its power supply for nine hours daily during the day.
Also, in 2018 the then electricity supplier Reliance energy faced a similar hurdle to recover the power dues from the residents of Siddharth Colony. It was reported that the housing society which houses more than 20,000 residents had faced power cut for 3 days. The dues had then mounted to Rs 63 crores.
Siddharth Colony is often denoted as a slum of lower-middle-class dwellers in Mumbai’s neighborhood of Chembur. Despite repeated actions and warnings, the residents of Siddharth Colony are adamant about not clearing previous dues despite the fact that electricity was consumed by them. Also, the residents have made repeated assurances of unhindered payment of current electricity bills but have failed to do so as well.