Nowadays it is a common sight to see the citizens of Delhi with towels wrapped around their head sipping cool shikanji to beat the heat. If electricity and air conditioning won’t come to their rescue, it seems there is at least something that will. Amidst the Mexican stand-off over electricity between the Delhi government and the power distribution companies, the scapegoat unfortunately is the average Delhi citizen. As news trickles in about the potential of solar energy, the three major private power distribution companies in the city have drawn up elaborate plans to encourage domestic consumers to set up rooftop solar panels and earn even more money by selling electricity to them. One cannot help but comment at the cruel irony of such news.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), already facing the humongous pressure of painstakingly going through data spread over a decade to prepare an audit report, has reportedly switched to using the United Nation Audit Software, which has made its job easier. In order to streamline the documents and figures mentioned in the files of Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL), BSES Rajdhani and Yamuna; the national auditor has also roped in a team of IT experts who are working round-the-clock to help it prepare a report on this contentious issue so that it can be placed in time before the Parliament. Elaborating on the importance of the software, it is reportedly an upgraded version with zero error. And through this, everything will perhaps soon be crystal clear. It is around a year-and-a-half that the audit started on January 9, 2014, but it is going to take possibly another seven months for the final report.
A “noticeable delay” in handing over files to the national auditor by discoms came even after its letter to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on June 16, 2014, expressing annoyance over the delay. Jung had then raised serious questions on the functioning of Delhi government’s top bureaucrats for not playing the role of a facilitator “effectively” despite having 49 per cent share in Discoms.
The Aam Aadmi Party has steadfastly alleged that the consortium of electric distribution companies has been repeatedly creating obstacles for the CAG. A quick conclusion to the audit is required to save the average Delhi citizen from the searing summer heat and the nightmare of arbitrary load-shedding which they witnessed last year. The demand for such an audit comes close on the heels of the news that sniffing irregularities CAG has sought the special audit of Delhi airport operator (DIAL). Private companies may shudder at the prospect of a CAG audit. However, it is imperative that for the sake of probity and transparency these audits must be completed instead of being stonewalled and blocked.
While discoms have been claiming full cooperation with the audits, the truth is entirely different.