Balurghat, Oct. 16: A power cut for more than 12 hours in Basuria village last night has engulfed the area in darkness after illegally chopped trees fell on five electric poles and crashed them to the ground.
Angry residents blocked a zilla parishad road today from 7am to 12.30pm to protest the illegal felling and the power cut. Till late this evening, power supply had not resumed.
The blockade was withdrawn after police in Gangarampur intervened and assured residents that necessary steps would be taken to catch the persons who had cut the trees. Basuria is 45km from Balurghat town.
Local people said a group of people came to Basuria to cut trees last night. Some of the trees fell on the electric cables and five poles fell on the road resulting in the power cut. Local people alleged that the cutting of trees had become common at Basuria of late.
“Around midnight, a gang came to our locality and started cutting trees. We suddenly had a power cut. When we came out, we found several electric pillars on the road as some trees had fallen on them. These groups have cut almost 2,000 trees along the Gangarampur-Sarbamangalla road. We are fed up with this and have told the administration but nothing has been done,” said Paigam Ali, a resident.
Daily commuters including schoolteachers, college and office goers were inconvenienced by the roadblock. There are four high schools, 17 primary schools and 11 Sarva Siksha Kendras with a post office and a bank in Basuria, which were affected by the blockade.
“This is the only road that goes to my school, 9km from Basuria. I had to wait here for a long time as the road was blocked. The administration should take stern measures against those responsible,” said Sukhamay Chatterjee, a high school teacher.
“The people came out on the street to protest the indiscriminate felling of trees. We could not fight the gang as they were armed. The police are not helping us in any way,” said Kaiser Mandal, deputy to the gram panchayat pradhan of Basuria.
“The criminals behind this must be arrested,” said Asim Gope, the inspector in charge of Gangarampur police station. Power supply is expected to be restored by tonight.