The Telegraph
Thursday , January 9 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Peaceful protests cripple movement
Bill agitation hits business

A 12-hour bandh called in the town against inflated power bills went off peacefully on Wednesday with only a few traders defying it initially.

The Lok Janshakti Party and Muzaffarpur Sangharsh Morcha called the bandh — from 6am-6pm — in protest against alleged inflated electricity bills served to consumers by distribution franchisee Essel Vidyut Vitaran (Muzaffarpur) Ltd, as well as gross irregularities in preparing the caste census with special references to the economic and social conditions of the families.

Residents extended their support to the protest and abided by the bandh call. Business establishments in the commercial areas of Motijheel, Kalyani, Suttapatti, Jawaharlal Road, Mithanpura and Saraiyaganj also remained closed.

Some traders in the areas of Imlichatti and Station Road had opened their shops, but the LJP and Muzaffarpur Sangharsh Morcha activists forced them to down the shutters later in the day.

Ratan Kumar, a resident of the upscale Motijheel area in town, said: “We had arranged for provisions because we knew of the bandh. So, we did not face too many problems.”

Some residents like Masood Alam of Chandwara were, however, in a fix thanks to the bandh.

“I had to get some medicines in the morning but I did not find any of the shops open,” said Alam.

Deputy superintendent of police (city) Upendra Kumar said the bandh passed off peacefully and nothing untoward happened.

The district authorities made elaborate security arrangements and deputed armed forces at 15 places in the town to deal with any problem during the 12-hour bandh. Station house officers from Town, Mithanpura, Barhampura, Kazimohammadpur, Sadar and Ahiyapur police stations patrolled the township areas during the day, along with heavy reinforcements. The LJP took out a procession led by former MLA Vijendra Choudhary. The activists walked with placards in hard demanding the electricity rated to be slashed by 50 per cent.

Addressing a motley crowd at Saraiyaganj Tower, he said: “I will wage a struggle against the state government in the drive to slash the electricity bills. I will make electricity bill an issue and shall compel the government to slash the rate of power consumption per unit through a peaceful agitation.”

Rohan Dubey, the deputy general manager and public relations officer of Essel Vidyut Vitaran (Muzaffarpur) Ltd, said work went on as usual in the electricity offices in spite of the protest over power bills in town.