| Energy hurdle |
A poll debacle for Nitish Kumar this general election surprised many.
What could have possibly led to such a disaster for the former chief minister, who was instrumental in scripting a turnaround in the power supply in Bihar?
A seven-hour ordeal by this correspondent could provide some food for thought on how the state machinery functions when it is faced with clarion calls.
A sequence of how things unfolded between sultry Saturday and Sunday at his Anandpuri flat.
At 7pm on Saturday, the power line of my flat snapped. At 7.30pm, I called up Patna Electric Supply Undertaking (Pesu) umpteen times. Pesu claims to address complaints in six hours.
The SK Puri fuse-off call centre registered my complaint around 7.45pm. A complaint number (46) was provided. After waiting for three hours, I called up the centre again asking for the status of the complaint. The call centre executive said that a fieldsman would visit soon.
My wife and my three-year-old son were feeling restless. I called up again at 11.30pm. One Vijay Kumar on the other end said he couldn’t help because the system works this way. On speaking about Patliputra circle executive engineer K.K. Singh, under whom the locality falls, Vijay Kumar said: “No KK pheke. You can complain whoever you want to.” I then tried calling Singh more than 10 times but he did not pick up the phone.
My son kept crying. Frustrated, around 1am (Sunday), I called up the call centre again. This time, it was a different person. He said no one was on duty and the problem would be fixed only in the morning.
The rule does not restrict attending fuse-off calls anytime in the day.
At 2am, when I called the centre again, the man on the other side asked me to call the night-shift attendant — Chotu — on 9905481072.
When I called him he said: “Abhi kaam nahi hoga, kal subah dekhenge (At present I cannot do anything. It would be done in the morning).”
On further pleading, Chotu turned up but asked for kharcha-pani (bribe). He did not fix the problem but connected my house’s supply line with that of my landlord’s.
At 2.30am, we went to sleep.
On learning about the ordeal, Pesu general manager SSP Srivastava said: “Action would be taken against such persons. They will lose their job for not doing their duty and for asking bribe.”