| Bhagalpur deputy mayor Prity Shekhar at the meeting on Tuesday. Picture by Amit Kumar |
Scorching sun overhead, mercury at over 41°C and an acute power crisis forced residents to hit the streets on Tuesday.
Around 10pm on Tuesday, students and residents blocked NH-80 at Tilka Manjhi Chowk for over three hours. The protest led to a traffic jam extending to over 25km on both sides of the road. Bhagalpur district magistrate B. Kartikey’s motorcade was attacked. The mob chased Kartikey, who escaped thanks to the police.
On Tuesday evening, Bhagalpur deputy mayor Prity Shekhar had led a mob of over 150 people to protest before the office of superintending engineer of South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (SBPDC) in Mayaganj. Last Thursday, Shekhar had given the power company 72 hours to improve the situation.
Power consumers of Mayaganj power sub-station (Tilka Manjhi) turned violent because of power cuts in the past three days. A transformer at the station burnt down because of excess load on May 11, resulting in complete blackout.
SBPDC superintending engineer Narendra Kumar Singh said central load dispatch (CLD) has for the last 2-3 days started supplying 60MW power for Bhagalpur, but problems are arising because of local faults and failure of the franchise company, Bhagalpur Electricity Distribution Company Private Limited (BEDCPL).
Sources at Sabour power grid said the 132KV transmission line from NTPC Kahalgaon to Sabour developed a snag on Tuesday. Hence the blackout. The problem was checked temporarily by using the Lalmatia transmission line. But this line has a 30MW capacity so supply was hit. Singh said repair work has begun and supply would improve soon.
According to Sidhartha Roy, manager (human resources and administration) at the Bhagalpur distribution company, non-availability of relay system at Sabour was triggering faults on the transmission line from NTPC Kahalgaon.