The Telegraph
Friday , May 11 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sleepless nights and restless days
Rights panel serves notice

Guwahati, May 10: The Assam Human Rights Commission today sought an explanation from the government on the severe power crisis, price rise and scarcity of LPG cylinders in the state as a harried Dispur reviewed the prevailing scenario and power minister Pradyut Bordoloi left for Alipurduar to meet Power Grid officials for restoration of supply.

The AHRC registered a case and issued notices to Assam Power Distribution Company, food and civil supplies department and others with a direction to furnish their replies within three weeks of receipt of the order.

The case was registered after senior AGP leader Jagadish Bhuyan filed a petition saying the dismal power scenario, among others, violated citizens’ right to life. Bhuyan, who filed the petition in his personal capacity, urged AHRC to issue directions to Dispur to take necessary steps to ease the situation to give respite to the people.

Lawyer Bijon Kumar Mahajan, who moved the petition on behalf of Bhuyan, said the people were having a harrowing time because while the state was reeling under acute power crisis, there had been frequent hikes in power tariffs, too.

Gogoi reviewed the situation with ASEB chairman S.C. Das, parliamentary secretary Bhupen Borah, additional chief secretary Jitesh Khosla and power department secretary Hemanta Narzary in his chamber. He will brief reporters tomorrow on the steps being taken to cope with the “unprecedented” power crisis. The severe power scarcity has seen widespread protests against Dispur, questioning its tall claims of development since the Congress returned to power in 2001 under Gogoi. Sources said Gogoi has taken steps to boost generation from six power plants in the state.

The power minister left for Borsaki village in Jalpaiguri district near Alipurduar in West Bengal to personally take stock of the damage caused to two Power Grid towers on May 3 that resulted in a massive breakdown of grid connectivity and huge power shortage in Assam and the rest of the region. He told The Telegraph that he wanted to check for himself the restoration work being undertaken by the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd and how much time it would take for normal supply to resume. “We are totally cut off from the national grid. About 30 per cent less rainfall and frequent bandhs in Upper Assam have compounded the situation,” he added.

Effigies of the power minister and the ASEB were burnt at several places in the state.

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