‘Will provide meters to Fashion Street vendors if PCB permits’

A day after Newsline reported about autorickshaw driver Khan Yusuf Khan, who owns a stall on Fashion Street and supplies electricity to 569 vendors on the street, receiving an electricity bill of Rs 2.84 lakh for the months of September-October, the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) said they treat Fashion Street as one gala but are willing to provide each vendor with an electricity meter if the PCB issues an NOC.

An official of MSEDCL said the single connection was given on the basis of a No Objection Certificate (NOC) which was issued to the company by Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) for supplying electricity to 448 original vendors of the market. The official, however, had no explanation on the additional 121 connections that were provided by Khan post 2005. Dilip Padalkar, superintending engineer, MSEDCL, had on Monday said, "I have instructed executive engineer to look into the matter and revert."

A n MSEDCL official on condition of anonymity said, "The Fashion Street plot belongs to PCB and they had issued us an NOC in 1997- 99 saying that one electricity meter be issued to provide electricity to 448 original vendors of the market. They cited that the place is unsafe and providing meters to all could increase the risk of short-circuit and fire," he said.

The official, however, had no answer when asked whether the present arrangement of providing electricity with wires reaching out to every stall was safe.

Safety at the Fashion Street is in doldrums as fire brigade does not reach most of the areas of the market. "The inspection of electricity is the responsibility of PWD engineers and we have no role to play. Our responsibility ends at the meter," the official said.

A PCB official had told Newsline that issuing NOCs to each vendor would be a complicated process given the encroachments done by stalls. "Details of the actual owners and the ones who have occupied the stalls illegally are not available. It is a complicated scene," the PCB official had said.

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