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No power to the people: Bihar awaits bijli rani

Last updated on: June 1, 2011 17:24 IST

No power to the people: Bihar awaits bijli rani

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MI Khan in Patna
M I Khan reports on the grim power situation in Bihar

In power-starved Bihar, people's anger against acute power shortage is posing a law and order problem. It may sound strange but that's the truth.

Bihar's top officials admit that the protest against power shortage is increasing day by day.

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Bhagalpur District Magistrate Narmedeshwar Lal had days ago communicated to state Home Secretary Amir Subhani his fears that the volcano of people's pent up frustration may erupt any time.

And it did. Bhagalpur town on Tuesday witnessed a total shutdown to protest against acute power and water scarcity. It was not first time that people in Bhagalpur town had protested violently.

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'People are fed up and their anger is alarming'

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In the last two months, Bhagalpur has witnessed regular protests against power shortage. But neither the district administration nor the state government provided any relief to the people.

"People are fed up and their anger is alarming. It can prove dangerous if the government fails to pacify them by solving power crisis," Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Arun Mishra, who hails from Bhagalpur, told rediff.com.

District Magistrate Lal said the power shortage worsened in the district after a powerful storm last month uprooted the transmission tower.

"The uprooted high transmission towers are yet to be erected for power supply," he said.

Bhagalpur resident Zainul Ansari said, "Bijli rani (electricity) is a luxury. She comes for few hours. If available for over five hours at a stretch, it is a miracle for people."



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'People are living without power for days'

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A more or less similar story of power shortage prevails in other towns like Muzaffarpur, Saharsa, Gaya, Jehanabad, Darbhanga, Bettiah, Sitamarhi, Madhubani and Aurangabad.

"We hardly get power; just about 2 to 3 hours a day," said, Aurangabad resident Munna Singh.

Kundan Jha, a businessman from Darbhanga, said electricity had become something really rare in the district.

"People are living without power for days," he said.

Rehan Akhtar, who works in Dubai and is currently visiting his home town Gaya, said that his town received only three to four hours of power supply in a day.

"Sometimes, the town goes without power for the whole day," he said.


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'Patna gets 400 MW daily at the cost of other towns'

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According to Bihar State Electricity Board officials, only state capital Patna gets adequate power supply.

"Patna gets more than 400 megawatt daily at the cost of other towns," a senior official told rediff.com.

While Bihar has a daily requirement of 2,300-2,500 MW, it generates hardly 50 to 80 MW. The supply from the central grid is only around 900 to 1,100 MW for last one month.



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'Bihar faces power deficit of over 1000 MW a day'

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"Bihar faces a power deficit of over 1,000 MW a day," Hare Ram Pandey, a Bihar State Electricity Board official, said.

He said that out the supply from the central grid, 350MW has been earmarked for essential services. This includes 60 MW to Nepal (according to the agreement with the central government), 90 MW to the Railways, 75 MW to continuous-process industries and 35 MW to defence services and the airport.

"Bihar is supposed to get 1,170 MW from the central grid. It is a hard fact that Bihar faces a serious power crisis due to the shortage of supply from the central grid," Pandey said.



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