Power woes

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With the summer getting hotter in Dimapur, the power situation here has again started playing truant with the consumers. The department apparently has taken no note of the power crisis in Dimapur leaving the consumers here sweating. That there is shortfall in power supply is well known, but the department appears not to have taken cognizance of it. There is no visible initiative from the Government, not even temporary measure, to overcome the immediate shortage in order to bring relief to the people especially during this hot summer. This underscores the level of irresponsibility of the administration. Admittedly our power scenario is not a happy one, but it is incumbent on the Government to find out means to fill the gap between supply and demand. There is substantial loss of power on two counts. One is on account of transmission system and the second is pilferage on a large scale. As regards transmission losses, what is the Government doing for repair of electric lines and other necessary changes that would bolster power supply. A safe method of reducing transmission losses is that of laying transmission lines underground. But that would incur enormous expenditures and the State Power Department is not yet in a position to shift to underground wiring. Therefore the existing system needs to be improved and streamlined. Here, it is unfortunate that the implementation of the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) in district is behind schedule due to negligence of the contractors implementing the scheme. As reported in this paper, the fitting of new electric poles under IPDS in Dimapur was supposed to have been completed a couple of months back, but the two turnkey contractors who were allotted the work failed to complete the work in the specified period. “Due to the delay in their work completion, the project is facing delay and we are unable to proceed ahead,” power officials had told this paper. The Government should immediately initiate action against such contractors. On the issue of pilferage of power, it is something for which the conscience of civil society needs to be awakened and jolted. Not only the Power Department and the Government but the civil society including peoples’ representatives has a major role in addressing this problem. No doubt the Government will do its duty of enforcing law and order in this regard or punishing the law breakers, but since it is a public affair, the civil society has greater responsibility to perform. Awareness camps should be organized and more importantly consumers who use illegal means for stealing power and causing losses to the State exchequer should be exposed and socially segregated. Tampering with electronic meters is a crime and any consumer found tampering with the meter must be dealt with according to the law. After all, the law enforcing agency cannot close its eyes to something that affects a vast majority of people. There is again the question mark on the entire system of purchasing, installing and maintaining the transformers. If transformers are damaged owing to more than approved load, a quick survey of the locality can be made by the approved staff. It will show who the defaulters are, and who should be brought to book. And herein the need for the Power Department to also look into the high rate of damage caused to transformers in the State. It is no gainsaying that our power shortage is a perennial problem. As our population is growing at a fast speed and means of subsistence are decreasing, we are unable to keep balance between supply and demand. Ironically though we have a large scope for establishing network of mini hydroelectric power projects in far off villages and regions, we are also confronted with acute power problem. Our state has the potential of having independent power generation system that makes it less dependent on national or regional power grids. It has to be a very well thought-out and calculated policy of making the state self-sufficient in the most important item of infrastructure – power. Additionally, more emphasis has to be laid on natural and renewable energy system, which primarily includes solar power. Solar energy generation and distribution is yet to take off in the state. But there is no escaping from that alternative source of power. This is a big lesson we must learn from the current crisis.