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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bhubaneswar: With the deadline provided by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CESU, Arun Bothra ending today, defaulters of power dues in the nine districts under the utility's jurisdiction will face disconnection from tomorrow.

As per a CESU report, 8.95 lakh consumers have a pending dues totaling to Rs 1,494 Crore. A total of 413 squads have been constituted by the power distribution company which will undertake power disconnection drives against defaulters in as many as 11,397 villages. However, following public outrage and keeping in view of the upcoming matric examination, the disconnection drive will be carried out in three phases.

In the first phase, the drive will be initiated against commercial establishments that have not cleared their dues. Similarly, in the 2nd phase of the disconnection drive, willful defaulters with strong financial condition would be targetted and the action will be initiated against the rest in the 3rd and final phase.

Meanwhile, as the deadline to clear pending power bills ended today, consumers were seen making a beeline in CESU bill collection centres.

A woman standing in the queue at a fee collection centre to pay her electricity bill said, "The studies of my children will suffer if they disconnect my power supply. So I have come here to clear my dues."

"Electricity is one of the essential commodities. We can't survive without it," said another consumer.

Commenting on CESU's decision to grant some more time to the poor households, Congress leader and Jatani MLA Sura Routray said, "I thank CESU for listening to our request and granting some grace period."

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