Friday, April 23, 2021

Powerless people

The State Power Department remains incorrigible. Inefficiency and incompetence apart, even corruption apart; the department has become a festering sore with no hope of a cure at hand. The see saw rhythm of “coming” and “going” of electric supply, independent of scheduled power cuts and lightning cuts, have made the lives of Dimapur citizens miserable in this unendurable heat, currently oscillating between higher 30s degree Celsius. Agreeably not only the system is guilty but to some extent, we as consumers too do not usually go in for self regulation and prefer to refrain from not imposing self discipline in using power in those rooms only where it is required the most. Perhaps, frequent power breakdowns frustrate such attempts. Here it is true that power supply is a nation-wide issue and our State is not an isolated case. However, improvement of the system through reforms and technical upgrading are not to be ignored and reduced to the level of futility. This is precisely the situation prevailing here. Particularly in Dimapur, the power situation has been playing truant with the consumers with the summer getting hotter. The situation for the citizens has further been made worse by the inability to watch the FIFA world cup uninterrupted for the full one and half hour match due to frequent power cuts. Apparently the department has taken no note of the power crisis in the State that has literally left its citizens sweating. The Government may or may not accept it, but the mood of the people in Dimapur as well as in the rest of State is most unfavourable. 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. And this underscores the level of irresponsibility of the administration. To a layman, the power department is one that appears steeped in corruption and inefficiency. Government after government has allowed it to keep tryst with corruption and malpractices until the day came when corruption stands institutionalized in the department. Various pretexts had been forwarded to justify why there are recurring power cuts or why there is power failure or why we have perennial power shortages. They may be sound reasons, no doubt. However, that does not mean that we remain content with what is there and not try to improve it or at least understand that we are running an obsolete infrastructure of our power sector. We are accustomed to the patent rhetoric and we are almost reconciled to what we are facing in the power sector. One reason for the irregular supply of power in the State, we are regularly told, is rampant power theft across all sections of the society, and the resultant revenue losses incurred by the department from such theft. Sure, there are those from the elite, middle and lower middle class indulging in power theft for whatever reasons. But the question is not of more theft in one and less by the other. The question is of the culture of power theft that is eating into the vitals of the power department and genuine consumers in the State. This is a serious question and the time has come when the Government should take a decisive step for ameliorating the critical power situation. Indeed it is of no use experiencing the same woes during every summer months, reeling under it and keep on resorting to remedial measures of absolute temporary nature. Year after year, we experience the same plight. Power supply on relatively uninterrupted basis continues to be a distant possibility as no cogent result oriented long term planning is made to resolve the issue. Again, we are to remain glued to the hopes of some improvement in weather conditions or expect a few showers to bring some respite from the heat. Alas, this year rain also appears to have abandoned Dimapur. However, on the other side no rainfall means good news for thousands of citizens in Dimapur, as even few millimetres of rain will result in flood displacing thousands of residents. Indeed it appears that the present difficulties we are facing are on account of a blend of nature and man; nature – because of scorching heat and man – because of the failure of the governments in bringing about improvement worth the name in power.