| Garbage at the Mangles Tank sub-station. Picture by Sachin |
Dhirendra was pleasantly surprised when he received a sudden phone call from Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd (BSPHCL) chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) Pratyaya Amrit around 11pm on Thursday.
The CMD enquired whether Dhirendra’s fuse-call complaint had been attended to or not. Dhirendra, who had lodged a complaint with the Gaighat fuse-call centre at 6.32pm, told Amrit that his complaint had been redressed but it again developed a snag and the team, entrusted with repairing the fault, repaired it again.
It was a complete surprise for junior engineer Sujit Kumar, the sub-station in-charge, to see his seniormost officer at 10.50pm. It could easily be gauged from his body language that he was not expecting the CMD at the odd hour.
Amrit, accompanied by his officer on special duty, Upendra Kumar, went out on a surprise inspection on Thursday night to have a first-hand feel of the ground reality of fuse-call centres after he received complaints that people deployed at fuse-call centres do not respond to the complaints or either attended very late or they went unattended.
A total of 22 teams, headed by chief engineers and two managing directors of South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited and North Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited, made a surprise inspection of all 46 fuse-call centres.
After calling up Dhirendra, the CMD made four other calls to others who had lodged complaints with the Gaighat fuse-call centre and he found that all had been redressed.
The CMD was furious to find out that of 18 complaints lodged with the Gaighat fuse-call centre since Thursday morning, only 10 were redressed till 11pm. “Why eight complaints have not been attended since 9am? Why complaints lodged at 2pm and 3pm have not been redressed while those lodged at 6pm were attended quick? There should be some system. We must adopt the policy of first-come-first-serve,” Amrit told junior engineer Sujit Kumar who did not have any reply.
Amrit then enquired about the materials and equipment provided to all fuse-call centres located at 46 power sub-stations. The junior engineer denied having received anything. Asked about the non-availability of materials and equipment from the executive engineer of Gulzarbagh division under the jurisdiction of which Gaigat sub-station falls, he assured the CMD that all materials and equipment would be made available to the fuse-call centre on Saturday.
Amrit asked both the junior engineer and the executive engineer to get eight complaints redressed within an hour apart from getting the wild undergrowth cut from the sub-station land within three days.
Amrit asked engineer Sujit that a week ago, he had ordered gumboots, gloves, tool kits, raincoats, close user group cellphones and other things for teams attend fuse-call complaints. The power company would provide folding ladder, a vehicle at night and a helmet with flash light to all fuse-call centres, Amrit said, while adding that the company had provided every fuse-call centre with a register for making entry of complaints, counterfoils to get signatures of consumers after repairing the fault.
But the situation was different at Mangles Tank sub-station fuse-call centre where the CMD reached around 9.45pm and found raincoats, gloves, new register and counterfoils.
Bhagat told the CMD, who was furious to see that there were five teams operating in three shifts but the majority of 18 complaints had not been attended. Bhagat told Amrit that the junior engineer, who distributes work, had gone home. On this, Amrit called up junior engineer Lal Bahadur Arya and gave him a mouthful: “There are so many complaints lying unattended since morning, some since 3.55pm. Why have you given just two complaints to one team, while the other does not have any work. You will have to face the consequences.”
The surprise inspection would now be a regular affair.