Members of the Facebook group, Hamara Hazaribagh, present roses to a JSEB official in Hazaribagh on Monday. (Vishvendu Jaipuriar)
Mahatma Gandhi could never have predicted it. Even Rajkumar Hirani and Sanjay Dutt could not have guessed Gandhigiri would work years after their film Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006) first launched the concept.
New Delhi-based corporate lawyer Nitesh Sinha (38), originally a Hazaribagh boy, was fed up of hearing about regular power cuts in his hometown. Through a Facebook group, Hamara Hazaribagh, Nitesh started asking people to team up for a resolution to the problem, Gandhigiri style.
On Monday, Nitesh, who came to Hazaribagh, local businessman Rakesh Gupta, as well as around 30 people met deputy commissioner Manish Ranjan, Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB) and DVC officials with red roses in bouquets and single stems.
Sinha, whose parents and relatives stay in Hazaribagh, said: “Though we have settled elsewhere, we have strong emotional ties with our hometown. It is a real pain to be told by loved ones that there are massive power cuts in summer.”
Gandhigiri ‘activists’ Vivek Sharma and Ganesh Citu said they went to power board office, where employees passed the buck to DVC, saying the latter did not supply required power to the district. Then, they quoted DVC director P.K. Basu, who admitted that they were shedding load for four-and-a-half hours, but also pointed out that the fault of the JSEB lay in the poorly managed substations and regular technical snags.
Jharkhand High Court lawyer Hemant Singh, who also took part in Monday’s Gandhigiri, said when they visited JSEB substation in Sindoor, they saw how bad management resulted in frequent power cuts.
“We were told that substation lacked circuit breakers (automatic switches designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by overload or short circuit). If one locality has a problem, they have to disconnect supply for the entire town,” Singh said, adding they handed bunches of roses to everyone.
Deputy commissioner Ranjan, after hearing out the Hamara Hazaribagh delegation, summoned JSEB officials and asked how they could improve matters. He promised to sanction funds immediately, but officials requested him for a week to prepare a report.
Nitesh said the roses had been the first step.
“Then, if the power supply doesn’t improve in the next fifteen days, we will use another R, the RTI Act, to know the exact status of JSEB substations in the district. We won’t hesitate to file a PIL in the court. But the power situation must improve,” he said.