The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Power punch as patience runs out

Dhanbad, July 14: Unable to bear long periods without electricity, patience of coal city’s residents appears to be finally running out.

The last 24 hours have witnessed both “Gandhigiri” and “Patelgiri”, if one might describe tough action.

While elderly residents, politicians and the elite have been presenting candles and roses to the acting general manager of the state electricity board, others have threatened to physically eliminate electricity board employees if the power situation does not improve.

At least six JSEB employees have been assaulted during the last 24 hours while an executive engineer was manhandled and abused.

Alarmed, the electricity employees’ union has sought protection from the board. The union and the board officials are expected to meet on Sunday to discuss the growing incidence of violence against them. Deputy commissioner Ajay Kumar Singh sent an SOS to the JSEB chairman this week, voicing apprehension that the worsening electricity supply in the town could create a law and order problem.

Singh’s fear appeared to be coming true when a group of irate consumers stormed the Dhaiyya sub-station late last night and abused the employees stationed there. One of the employees, Manoj Kumar Singh, was assaulted and the consumers threatened to shoot him dead, complained the employee in writing. A country-made pistol was actually whipped out, he claimed.

Hours later, another mob assaulted JSEB employees at Bhuli sub-station around 11.15pm. The mob forced employees out and switched off power supply to the sub-station. On Saturday morning, alleged Naresh Prasad Sinha, an executive engineer, consumers abused him in his own office, demanding immediate improvement in power supply.

The city is long used to regular power cuts for long periods. But of late, the irregular power cuts has tried the patience of residents, officials and even visiting ministers.

Consumers are also upset at officials passing the buck, with the JSEB blaming the DVC and the latter blaming the board and with both blaming contractors entrusted with the task of upgrading services.

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