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Indian Vegetable Vendor Commits Suicide Over Erroneous Electricity Bill

WT24 Desk

The bill of approximately $12,874 was generated for 6117.8 units of electricity consumed by Shelke’s family during the month of April 2018. However, it was found that a computing error had registered the units consumed as 61178, whereas the actual figure was only 6117.8 units, according to Sputnik News.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — A missing decimal point in the computation of the electricity consumption by a household in India has led the head of the family to end his life. 36-years-old Jagannath Nehaji Shelke was found hanging from the ceiling at his home in Maharastra with a suicide note claiming he was unable to bear the burden of the INR 8.64 lac (approximately $12,874) bill slapped on him by the state electricity department for consuming 61178 units of electricity during the month of April, while it was later found that his family had in reality only consumed 6117.8 units.

After the suicide caught media attention, the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company later admitted the erroneous bill was generated due to a missing decimal point of the consuming unit.Shelke’s family told the police that he took the extreme step after several visits to the local office of the state-run Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDCL) to settle the matter went in vain.

In a suicide note found at the site, Jagannath had written that his family could not have consumed so much electricity as they paid only INR 1,000 on average per month.

Bloated electricity bills due to the faulty counting of units have been a major problem in India, mainly due to the manual data collection system. Last August, B. R. Guha, a resident of the eastern state of Jharkhand, received an electricity bill amounting to approximately $572 million, which was later found defective. In 2015, Krishna Prasad was hospitalized after he suffered a stroke when the state electricity department served him an electricity bill amounting to approximately $5 million. During the same year, Rohit Saxena, a Ghaziabad resident, received a bill of approximately $33 million, which was later proved faulty after a month of struggle with the power department.

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