The TIMES of INDIA  :  TNN   Aug 11, 2018

KOTA : In protest against the installation of smart metres by Kota Electricity Distribution Limited (KEDL), a franchise of Jaipur Vidyutt Vitran Nigam Limited (JVVNL) and high electricity bills from them, the markets, private schools and other commercial institutions in Kota city on Friday remained completely closed.  Petrol pumps also stayed closed till 12 o’clock in the afternoon in support of the bandh.

Kota city Congress, Kota Vyapar Mahasang and around 150 trade organizations associated with it had given a call for band against the exploitative commercial strategies and installation of smart electricity metres by the franchise company in Kota city.  Kota bar council also suspended the judicial work in Kota court against KEDL.

Youth Congress workers along with the volunteers of other trade and public organizations took rounds in the city market and demostrationed against KEDL.  Youth Congress workers burnt tires and smart metres in front of KEDL office in Gumanpura area.  The situation of a face-off between protesters and the police arose handled in time normalizing the situation.

The protestors in Satoshi Nagar area overturned the kachori theta and attempted to manhandle its vendor.

“It was a historical band against the exploitative commercial strategies of KEDL and the whole public of Kota city supported it,” Kota city Congress president Ravindran Tyaqi said.

“Kota Bar council today decided to boycott the judicial work in Kota court in support to the call to Bandh and to lodge protest against KEDL,”  said Mahindra Kumar Gupta, treasurer, Kota bar council.

“Bandh in Kota remained peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from any part of the city,” Additional superintendent of police (ASP), Kota Enmesh Ojha said.

Himont Signh, a social activist in Kota had been on hunger strike of 10 days outside KEDL office with the demand to send back the private company and to restore electricity distribution to government company as per the previous pattern, withdrew his hunger strike on Friday after ta delegation from district administration met him.  “District administration has asked for 10 days time to address and fulfill my demands in public interest following which I decided to withdraw the hunger strike,” said Himmat Singh.

Meanwhile, ahead of call for Bandh, a meeting presided by Kota district collector Gorav Goyal was held on Thursday with officials of KELD, representation of Kota Vyapar Mahasang and hostel association.  Collector Gorav Goyal directed to organize ward wise camp from August 17 to address and solve the issue related to high billing.  He also directed to withdraw the previous direction of charging electricity bill in commercial category to hostels.  How domestic electricity charges would be applicable to the hostels in Kota.

JVVNL last year franchise Kolkata based KEDL for electricity distributed in Kota city since then the company had been facing public wrath fro its commercial tactics including installation of smart electricity metres.