Monday, May 10, 2021

Power woes

The State Power Department on November 22 last notified that the department will be resorting to load shedding throughout the State on rotational basis citing power shortage. Chief Engineer (T&G), Er. Nribemo Mohzui informed that due to low generation from Hydro Power Generating Stations and the resultant shortfall, the Power Department is compelled to impose the load shedding. According to the CE, the State is facing a power shortfall of 125MW daily. Out of a total daily requirement of 473MW, the availability is only 348MW, a shortfall of 125MW. Without electricity, life stands completely stalled in Nagaland, particularly in State capital Kohima. We know that the onset of November starts the coldest season in Kohima. People buy warm clothes, charcoal, firewood and other essential commodities because they know when winter arrives they are left to the mercy of God. People here need it more than anything else during harsh winter. The winters in some other states or countries are harsher than Kohima yet it does not affect the life style of the people there in any manner since they have adequate power supply. However, here frequent shut-downs/load-shedding is creating problems for all. The same fate is faced by the people living in Dimapur during summer. People pay the bills on time and in return get most erratic power-supply which is worsening day by day. The schedule of load shedding is fine but there are scores of villages, particularly in remote areas of the State, where its supply is almost negligible. It comes for ten minutes and goes for hours. One wants to know, why electricity supply worsens with each passing day in the State. The department should remain prepared well in advance to tackle the crisis but how ironical, they always start digging the well when the fire is raging. If they know that there is shortage ahead they should take up the matter with the Government in advance. If consumers are paying the bills monthly, why can’t the concerned department provide them the electricity they deserve? It is sheer injustice if a consumer pays bill every month to the department, and in turn the department fails to provide consumers the electricity for the amount. It’s the responsibility of the department to purchase electricity for him. What sort of service is this by the way? One fails to understand. If a common man who lives from hand to mouth, toils hard and earns Rs 500 per day only for paying the electricity bill timely, why can’t the department think the same way? A commoner, truthfully, fears the electricity bill more than anything else here. It is time the department live up to the expectations of its consumers. Truth is bitter. This hide-and-seek of electricity is only in Nagaland. Go outside and see for yourself. Come here, the story is altogether different. Here Kohima and Dimapur to some extent enjoy a semblance of power supply but gosh, rural areas have to bear the brunt all times! Low voltage aside, people in rural areas have now become accustomed to reeling under darkness. What then 21st century is on, they still burn lanterns and candles. Either the transformers get damaged and remain in the workshops for months at end or the decayed electricity poles fall down till the locals come out and help themselves up. But why do transformers get damaged? Concerned officials have been telling us (the consumers) over the years that the load exceeds in summer/winter time as people are using A/Cs, fridge, etc in summer and heaters, boilers to heat water, etc in winter. But how many times have the department officials chalked out concrete strategy to stop such practices? How many times have they till today launched or done wee-hour and nocturnal raids to stop this? Not once. Now, even if the department will conduct such raids to stop power theft, it won’t succeed. You know why? Because its staff working on the ground will, in advance, inform the consumers about the teams’ arrival. They have got sold for some pocket money. It will make one flesh crawl to hear that it’s these linemen who allow people to do the hooking and in turn receive chai pani. Clearly there is urgent need for the department to reform the system and enhance carrying capacity so that supply meets the requirements of the consumers.