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The city of Taj Mahal has earned the dubious distinction of leading urban centres across the country in the number of power thefts recorded in the past year. A total of 2,182 FIRs were registered here against power pilferers, followed by Kanpur with 1,409 and Ghaziabad with 1,308 cases.
All three urban centres came above Delhi, where 1,121 power theft cases were filed, according to the national crime records bureau (NCRB). The line loss in the city due to such thefts is a massive 29.6%, the report added.
Among states, Uttar Pradesh leads in the country with a staggering 57,193 cases, which is 58% of all 97,591 power theft cases reported in the country. It is followed by Haryana (18,598) and West Bengal (8,998).
Other four Uttar Pradesh cities which find mention in the NCRB report are Varanasi (471), Meerut (418), Allahabad (394) and the state capital Lucknow (204).
SC Bharti, director (technical), Dakshinanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd (DVVNL), said, "The problem of power theft is quite rampant in the whole of UP, but our endeavour is to minimize the losses. Besides conducting raids, we also hold camps to provide power connections to people. The trend of power theft in Agra has gone down over the years."
DVVNL is responsible for power distribution in 21 districts of Uttar Pradesh, including Agra, Mathura, Mainpuri, Aligarh, Firozabad and Kanpur among others.
According to Torrent Power, the private electricity distribution company which has been working in Agra for the past six years, they have brought down the number of theft cases and line loss considerably ever since they took over.
"In 2010, when we took over the power distribution, the line loss was 58% (67% unofficially). It has been brought down to 29.6% and our target is to reach 26% by the end of this year," a spokesperson of Torrent told TOI. During an anti-theft drive last year, DVVNL lodged over 7,200 FIRs and collected Rs 75 crore in arrears in just 25 days.
As part of the distribution body's "one-time settlement scheme", which aimed at regularising illegal connections, Agra division had stood first in generating the maximum revenue of Rs 120 crore from rural areas and Rs 50 crore from urban areas.
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