Kasaragod: The Ayyappan Vs Koshy battle between the KSEB and the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) continues as the government's power distribution company pulls the plug on two more offices of the transport department in Kannur and Kasaragod districts.
Saturday morning, KSEB disconnected the power supply to Kannur's District Enforcement Control Room of the Regional Transport Office (RTO) at Mattannur. The RTO office ran up a bill of Rs 52,807 in two months and the deadline to pay the bill was on June 27, said a transport official in Mattannur.
Apart from monitoring the feeds from AI cameras, the MVD's electric cars used for squad work are recharged at the Mattannur office. "Of the five electric vehicles, three are recharged at Mattannur. Our squad work will also be affected," he said.
On Friday, KSEB disconnected the power supply to Kasaragod RTO's Enforcement office at Karanthakad after the department missed the deadline to pay the bill by three days.
The punitive action disrupted the monitoring of feeds from artificial intelligence (AI) cameras installed by the MVD on the road and rendering of services to the public, said a transport official.
The Enforcement RTO in Kasaragod had accumulated a power bill of Rs 23,000 over the past three months. "We have to pay the bill every month but the department sends funds to clear the power bill only once in three months," he said.
The last date to pay the bill was on June 26 (Monday). After the two-day Bakrid holiday, KSEB officials disconnected the power supply of the Enforcement office on Friday, June 30. "The power is not yet restored because we have not got the money to pay the bill," the official said on Saturday.
The Ayyappan Vs Koshy ego battle was triggered on June 16, when MVD slapped a fine of Rs 20,000 after AI traffic cameras caught a KSEB contractor carrying a long-reach pruner on a jeep at Wayanad's Ambalavayal section. The department slapped another Rs 500 because the jeep driver was not wearing a seat belt. KSEB employs these contractors to lop trees touching power lines.
KSEB retaliated when it disconnected the power supply to MVD's enforcement office at Kalpetta on June 27. The power was restored an hour later after MVD paid the power bill.
An MVD official in Kasaragod said KSEB can pull the plug on any MVD office because there is a delay in the government clearing power bills.
On asked if KSEB could be exempted from traffic violations such as carrying long-reach pruners, he said the violations are caught by the AI cameras and notices for violations are sent without human intervention. "We have given an exemption to ambulances," he said.
Calls made to the minister of transport Antony Raju went unanswered. When contacted, Minister for Electricity K Krishnankutty enquired why MVD was not paying the bills on time. He, however, said there were no ministerial-level talks to resolve the issue. "But I will enquire into it," he said.