Agri Business

Seafood export units mull moving court against Kerala power board

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on March 27, 2015 Published on March 27, 2015

The Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) has complained that the anti-power theft squad of Kerala State Electricity Board had wrongly raided the processing units of many of its members and slapped huge penalties and back dues.

SEAI functionaries told a press conference that the APTS officials had also fed wrong information to media channels that described them as ‘power thieves’ and thus damaged the business reputations of the firms.

They said that without verifying the power consumer category allotted by KSEB before, the squad had accused the seafood processing firms of using power under a concessional tariff scheme while they were only entitled to the non-concessional HT-4 category. The firms had not been informed of any change in their tariffs before, their versions had not been heard and no intimation on higher tariff rates given and no demand notices on supposedly increased rate were served.

For instance, the functionaries said Capithan Exporting Company of Kollam was raided by the ATPS on March 18. Without even serving a notice on the outcome of the raid and assessing any possible dues or penalty, the squad had leaked information to TV channels the following day that Capithan had stolen power valued at ₹1.37 crore. This had, SEAI leaders alleged, brought disrepute to the firm.

SEAI President AJ Tharakan said the association was considering moving the courts against the “illegal, one-sided and authoritarian’ way in which the penalties and exorbitant bills were slapped on the seafood processing units and the damage of reputation caused. Many other units also were slapped huge bills and penalty by ATPS.”

SEAI leaders also said that the squad members, who were mainly junior-level officials, were ignorant of the seasonal nature of the seafood processing industry, which were active for a few months and often kept idle during the slack season. As a result, they had misconstrued the lack of full-scale activity at many firms they raided as non-functioning units.

Published on March 27, 2015
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