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Power woes follow monsoon relief

- Officials in Hazaribagh struggle to combat natural and political forces

Monsoon is generally expected to bring some relief for the residents, reeling under scorching summer heat, but the arrival of rains seems to have aggravated the ongoing power woes.

And the power department, which has already been facing the people’s wrath owing to erratic supply, is now bracing for the nature’s fury.

On June 12, heavy rain lashed Hazaribagh town, ushering in the rainy season. But the downpour uprooted a tree on the NH-33 near the district more that fell on overhead wires, snapping the supply to the entire town. It took the department around seven-eight hours to repair the lines and restore the supply.

The department is still smarting from the bitter spat between a senior board official and former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha, who had led over 50 BJP workers to protest against power problems in Hazaribagh on June 2 and landed in jail on assault charges. And now the department does not know how to fend off this crisis caused by nature.

Sources said June 12 was not a stray incident, but just the beginning of a two-three-month-long ordeal. Leave alone the rural segments of the district, even urban areas are forced to live without power for at least 20-25 days every monsoon that generally pulls down several trees across the district and disrupts power supply.

According to residents, the power department never takes any preventive measure to deal with such situations.

“Whenever a tree gets uprooted in any area, it normally takes seven-eight hours to repair the wires. This happens every year, so the department should do something to overcome it,” said Shahnawaz Khan, a resident of Pugmil locality.

Department officials said trees were all around the town and most of them were very old. “Even a moderate gust of wind brings them down, snapping overhead wires. The only solution is to go for underground wiring but there is no such proposal for Hazaribagh right now,” said a senior power official.

He added that a team of electricians was always kept on standby to deal with such a situation. “The team rush to the spot as soon as we receive any information about tree fall. But it takes time as we first need to remove the fallen tree and then repair the lines.”

Subdivisional officer (electricity) S. Banerjee admitted that it was a big problem during the monsoon. “This is a different kind of problem that happens every year. The department remains alert and takes speedy action to minimise the plight of the residents,” he added.