PUL-I-KHUMRI (Pajhwok): After the release of a Pajhwok Afghan News report, officials in northern Baghlan province have stepped up efforts to recover hefty unpaid power bills from strongmen.
On December 18, Pajhwok published a report that 3,215 individuals and 200 government departments in Baghlan province owe the Da Afghanistan Breshna Shirkat (DABS) nearly 542 million afghanis in unpaid electricity bills.
Based on the Pajhwok’s report, Baghlan officials have intensified endeavours to collect DABS arrears from the defaulters.
Mullah Sardar Wali Hamza, acting director of DABS in Baghlan, said: “After the release of Pajhwok’s report, we have stepped up efforts to recover the arrears from defaulters.”
He added all his staff members were working diligently to force the defaulters into paying their electricity bills.
The official revealed he had prepared a list of defaulters including powerful individuals, tribal elders, illegal armed groups, former soldiers and officials.
The list will soon be handed over to the governor’s office and the police headquarters. He said the Pajhwok report had prompted officials of the department to discharge efficiently their duties, including arrear collection.
Information Director Maulvi Asadullah Mustafa Hashimi confirmed that after the release of the Pajhwok report their focus had shifted to arrear recovery.
They would be able to realise the arrears soon, the director believed, stressing an end to the culture of defaulting on utility bills.
“Whoever the defaulters may be and whatever reason they have for not paying bills, we consider them debtors. And we will recover the arrears from them,” Hashimi vowed.
“The world has come to know that 3,215 people are indebted to the Baghlan Electricity Department. The Pajhwok report is a good proof of that,” he said.
Eng. Sibghatullah Omari, spokesman for the governor, warned if the defaulters did not clear the arrears soon, the authorities would forcibly collect the bills from them.
Baghlan officials insist the era of strongmen had gone and no group or individual could pilfer government revenue or refuse to repay debts any longer.