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Island awaits power visit

Malda, Jan. 1: All that stands between residents of Bhutni island on the Ganga and electricity is chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

The overhead power cables criss-crossing the island and the 133-KV substation built by the state electricity board are ready to supply power. But the wait will have to continue till Bhattacharjee finds time to inaugurate the substation.

“We have asked the chief minister’s office for a date when he can come here to inaugurate the substation. Though we have not got a confirmation, we hope it will be this month,” said Subhas Bhattacharya, the power board’s zonal manager.

The Rs 80-crore substation, built with funds from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, is the second in the Chanchol area of the district.

A senior board engineer said pillars had been raised from the riverbed and overhead lines were ready to transmit power to all the houses on the island located in the Manikchak police station area.

The people of the island will receive power once the chief minister inaugurates the substation.

With only one substation, vast areas of Malda experience long periods of power cuts. Once the new substation begins to function, the district, which has a daily demand of 42 MW, will see brighter days.

“The substation is already feeding power and the process of synchronisation is still on, but we are determined to have the facility formally inaugurated by the chief minister,” said a senior board official.

Residents of Bhutni, however, are restless waiting for Bhattacharjee to do the honours.

“What is the use of erecting the poles and laying the cables if they do not supply power. We have been living without electricity for so long and now all of us are eager to see lamps glowing in our homes,” a resident, Nurul Islam, said.

The power board as well as a Haryana-based company are lobbying hard to get the chief minister in Malda by the end of this month.

Sukhjit Starch Company, which has a Rs 18-crore factory that will manufacture glucose from corn starch, is also keen on having Bhattacharjee inaugurate it.

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