A scooterist negotiates a dark Purulia Road in
Ranchi on Sunday night. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi/Jamshedpur, June 8: Areas serviced by Jharkhand Urja Vikas Nigam Limited went without electricity for four to 16 hours in the past 24 hours across the state, paralysing residential areas and industries alike and sparking mass protests, as manmade snags continued to mock the touted power-surplus status.
Tribal heartland Santhal Pargana, reeling under a power crisis for days, saw a resurgent BJP call a largely successful bandh capitalising on people’s resentment, while inadequate electricity supply stopped production in most units in industrial hub Adityapur, Seraikela Kharsawan.
“We have sufficient power. Yet we are unable to carry this power to Santhal Pargana for want of proper power transmission lines,” C.D. Kumar, member distribution, Jharkhand Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd. (JUVNL) told The Telegraph.
“At present, these districts get power from Bengal and Bihar, though way short of actual requirements. There is a shortfall of 70 to 80MW in supply to these six districts, forcing them to go without power for prolonged periods,” he added.
There are more manmade problems.
The state, which this January unbundled Jharkhand State Electricity Board into a holding company and three subsidiaries to streamline the power sector, made nought of its purported reforms by neglecting basics. Six months on, subsidiaries don’t have managing directors.
A highly placed source said the file for appointment of managing directors for three subsidiaries shuttles between the offices of the state energy minister Rajendra Prasad Singh and chief minister Hemant Soren as the two men can’t arrive at a consensus on names.
So, if a subsidiary purchases power, say from Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), it has no person at the top to order payment clearances.
An irate DVC, suffering “lapsed payments”, rationed its power supplies to the state by 50 per cent earlier this month, plunging many parts of Dhanbad, Bokaro, Giridih, Hazaribagh, Koderma, Ramgarh and Chatra into darkness.
Kumar said they were mulling grid substations and transmission lines at Dhanbad, Hazaribagh, Ramgarh and Koderma to reduce dependence on DVC but conceded to delays.
He added that around 192 transformers across their command areas were burnt out due to overloading.
With inputs from Pinaki Majumdar in Jamshedpur