Power cuts & courtesy


It’s started all over again ~ the Power cuts. “Power cuts”, because as is the norm and plain courtesy the state Power Department has not officially informed the public of the time schedule for load-shedding. Most Power consumers may not notice these Power cuts because these days we invest in inverters as they cost less in the long run and are less messy polluting including noise-wise. Obviously, the soaring cost of petrol and diesel also prompt us to reconsider investing in a generator. It is well-known that the Power situation is getting from bad to worse so it shouldn’t surprise anyone if one fine day, our Power supply stops abruptly. Everyone knows the reason for our dismal Power situation but because we are not only Power consumers but also voters and we vote back the same people to power over and over again and worse still do not even demand discourses on issues of the bare necessary infrastructure we have been denied so far, we have no option but to remain silent and suffer the heat and humidity of the summer months ~ and suffer the loss of trades and businesses. We lose out every time, every year and in every aspect because we do not learn ~ and we also do not display any desire to learn. About a couple of weeks ago, I saw a Facebook post that some direly-needed equipment, probably transformers, had reached Dimapur and much hope was expressed that soon we will have uninterrupted and quality Power supply. If that is the case, we certainly have reasons to rejoice. But even so, one would have expected some courtesy from the Power Department to officially inform the consumers through local newspapers or even through the Government mouth-piece The Warrior, published and disseminated by the Department of Information and Public Relations ~ however, so far, there is only earsplitting silence from the concerned Department. Meanwhile, Power comes and goes within split-seconds damaging home and business appliances, including heavy machineries. The unfortunate past of it is that none of us even think of suing the Power Department for such damages and demanding compensations ~ just the same way we do not think of suing the PWD or whichever concerned authority entrusted with the construction, repairs and maintenance of roads and bridges for damages to our vehicles, more importantly to our health, and demanding that restitutions are made and paid. It is time for us to seriously consider the services offered by consumer courts and our lawyers, who I believe are under-worked. One is also of the opinion that the legal community needs to be promoted vigorously ~ we do have a bright legal community in Nagaland. One of the factors for our bad Power situation, bad roads and generally bad infrastructure in whatever sector is because we do not realize that we are consumers therefore we have consumers’ rights and protections. This is an area the Nagaland State Legal Authority (NSLA) could think of creating awareness and educating our people. We need to be explained that the Government is not doing us a favour by providing infrastructure and other wherewithal to facilitate economic and other spheres of human activities and that the Central and all State Governments are constitutionally obliged to provide them to all citizens, failing which the Governments could be taken to court. It is also most unfortunate that while we have an acceptably high rate of literacy, we have an abysmally low rate of awareness and education about our rights ~ and this includes even the “degreed” sections of our society. Perhaps that is why we waste precious time, energy and resources by protesting and serving ultimatums and sometimes even calling for bandhs just to get the Government’s attention to address and redress our problems and for what is denied and deprived to us. If the Government does not attend to the people’s day-to-day problems then what is the rationale behind its existence? As elsewhere in India, even in Nagaland, party politics have eclipsed the need of the people and the clearly laid down provisions of the Constitution. Can the country grow, develop and progress under these circumstances? So, don’t believe when politicians in power hold forth on the development they have “done’ or politicians not in power insist that they did a better job. Meanwhile, can we expect some courtesy from our Power Department, which is a service provider and owes both courtesy and Power to the consumers?