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Power crisis haunts Dhubri

Dhubri, April 8: The acute power crisis in Dhubri has seen many budding entrepreneurs either leave town or face a bleak future.

With another Lok Sabha election around the corner, locals feel their parliamentary representatives have not done enough to ensure industrial development in the town as well as the entire district.

The Dhubri Lok Sabha seat has been traditionally a Congress bastion, with party candidates winning nine times from the constituency though Badruddin Ajmal of the AIUDF had won the last parliamentary election in 2009. Moinul Haque Choudhury of the Congress, who had represented Dhubri, was even the industries minister during Indira Gandhi’s regime in 1971.

Once a vibrant centre of trade and commerce by virtue of its geographical location and being connected through river, air, rail and road, Dhubri has gradually lost its importance owing to alleged lack of interest by elected representatives to work for its development.

And even a medium-scale match factory closed down in 1996 and no step was taken to revive the industry by any MP, residents alleged.

Prasanta Das, a young entrepreneur, who started a handloom factory in the 90s, had to close it down owing to acute power crisis and the long-drawn formalities to get project clearance.

Das now runs a small bakery in village near Gauripur town in Dhubri district.

“It is impossible to run any industry because of the erratic power supply. My Assam Looms Industries Ltd which started functioning in 1992, had to be closed down. I had bought a generator to tide over the problem but the cost of production became so high I had to close it down,” he said.

Das said he started the bakery business because it did not require power to run the shop.

Nearly 4,000 other small-scale entrepreneurs are also facing the brunt of the power crisis. However, no public representative so far raised this issue or come forward to solve it, they said.

“Nearly 4,000 small-scale industries opened by educated youths of Dhubri district over the last 10 years are facing closure owing to erratic power supply and frequent load-shedding. Dhubri need an average of 30MW daily but gets only 10-12MW,” Arun Paul, a youth of Gauripur town, said.

Paul said without proper power supply it was a meaningless waste of investment to set up industries in Dhubri district.

He said it was unfortunate that local leaders and MPs had not shown any inclination to solve the problem, which has ruined the future of many youths in the district.

“More than 2,500 photocopy shops, Internet cafes, printing press, TV and mobile repairing shops, and photography studios are incurring losses owing to the power crisis,” said Monojit Paul, who runs a photocopy shop in Dhubri.