Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, May 20:
Despite Odisha government’s repeated assurances that there will be no power cuts in the state this summer, unscheduled power cuts in many parts in the city continue- starting from 15-30 minute cuts every 3-4 hours in most parts of the city, to long spells no-power in some residential areas on the outskirts, making life miserable for the people, especially children, the old and the sick.
What has angered people is the lack of honesty on the part of the CESU and the Energy department who do not share the truth about the power supply situation in the city.
” What prevents the power supply authorities from telling the truth ? On the one hand we were given to understand by our great government that all steps have been taken to take care of the shortfall in power supply. We were told there would be no power cuts this summer. But what the hell ! Power-cuts are happening every day, every night in most areas, except where the influential people stay. But they at least have inverters and generators , what do ordinary people like us do ?”- asked Dayanidhi Sahu, a senior citizen in the Old Town area.
The cases of Nandan Vihar and residential zones in Barang are a great example of how the CESU deals with areas which do not carry the VIP tag, and has little qualms subjecting thousands of families who live in these colonies to inhuman torture during peak summer.
Residents of Nandan Vihar say they have been spending sleepless nights in the last few days and suffering from hours of no power during the day. They said they have written several times to the local electricity office as well as CESU authorities, requesting them to install a 33/11 KV line structure for the region but no one ever bothered to respond.
A 60-year-old resident of Nandan Vihar Sudhansu Patnaik said the power goes out at least 10 times during day when the houses become no less than cauldrons without the fans running.
He said his family, like many other in the locality, can not afford to install inverters in the house and one can imagine what we are going through when the city temperature is over 42 degree along with high humidity.
“Don’t ask us about the nights when the entire family has to give up sleep and look for the elusive breeze outside,” he said.
“The high heat outside has forces people to stay indoors but that turns out to be a greater torture ? Why is the state government silent over the consumers plight ? Let their officials, who have air-conditioned homes and offices, come and spend a day here and get a feel of the we are going through. Do we pay less than the privileged and the VIPS for the power we use ? ”, a visibly angry Patnaik asked.
Ganesh Prasad Mohanty, chief advisor of Nandan Vihar Bikash Parishad said they have submitted a number of petitions on the acute power crisis in the area to the CESU officials but that has not penetrated their deaf ears. He said 20 years ago the area was not so developed but now there has been a mushrooming of apartments and residential buildings now which require a 33/11 KV sub-station. But till date no effort has been made by the CESU to address the issue .
Mohanty said frequent fluctuations and low voltage have forced residents to shut down electrical devices, including TV and refrigerators, in order to save them from damage.
Asked about the problem, Assistant Electrical Engineer of Kanan Vihar power station Motilal Mohanty said new 2x8MVA capacity feeder installed near Patia railway station is yet to run full-steam, forcing us to provide power from a feeder of 3x8MVA installed at Sailashree Vihar which can not take the load and results in unscheduled power cuts in Nandan Vihar. He also sometimes they are compelled to supply power to these areas from the Barang feeder when situation turns critical at the over-loaded Saliashree Vihar feeder.
Mohanty passed the buck to the contractors engaged in the installation of a new 33/11KV substation at Nandan Vihar area saying there is a long standing dispute among them that has led to the delay in the project.
The power problem will be sorted out after the feeder at Patia is fully functional , he said in a tone that lacked conviction.