Fake Electricity Bill Collectors On Prowl In Rairakhol
Sambalpur: Some miscreants allegedly defrauded tribal residents of thousands of rupees in the name of collecting electricity bills in several villages under Rairakhol sub-division in the district.
According to reports, two miscreants had visited Balata village under Kisinda police limits in the district on January 24 in the guise of electricity department officials and collected Rs 2000 from each consumer by giving them fake receipts.
Locals alleged that the fake officials warned consumers of disconnecting the power supply to the houses if they don’t pay the bill.
“I was forced to pay after they warned us to disconnect the electricity connection. When I argued with them, one of them had attempted to disconnect power supply to our home,” Sambari Baraha, a resident said.
Rajani Bage, another woman of the village who had also fallen to con, said “They forced us to pay the outstanding bill on the spot when we told them to pay the due at the office. We trusted them and paid Rs 2000,” Bage added.
Similar fraud had also taken place a few days ago at Charbati and Kandataila villages under Rairakhol police station in the district.
The matter came to fore after the electricity metre reader and bill collectors visited the village to collect outstanding dues. Consumers claimed to have paid the bill and showed the receipts to the officials. The receipts were found fake as the payment entry was missing from the official records.
Some villagers, who had clicked photos of the miscreants during bill collection, had given the photographs to the electricity officials. The department has lodged police complaints.
“We have lodged an FIR with police based on which a case has been registered. A person has been arrested in this connection,” said Deepak Kumar Rout, SDO, Rairakhol Electricity division.
He said that the department will send a special mobile van to the tribal dominated villages to make people aware about the fraud. “We are also providing identity card to our officials. They have been asked to wear the same during collection of bills,” Rout added.