Enough power for Ranchi but cruel cuts

Power is playing hide-and-seek with Ranchi residents in the height of summer but residents allege Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam (JBVNL) authorities aren't prepared.

By RAJ KUMAR
  • Published 25.05.17
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A shopkeeper fans himself during a power cut at Kutchery Road in Ranchi on Wednesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh

Power is playing hide-and-seek with Ranchi residents in the height of summer but residents allege Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam (JBVNL) authorities aren't prepared.

Daily power cuts are frequent in Ranchi since the past week or 10 days even as the distribution agency admits it got 310MW power a day that the capital needs.

But, ruing how power cuts affected life at home and work, residents across various localities said JBVNL was lax about probing into problems, including wires that snapped during recent Nor'westers.

"Since one week, power cuts occur after every 30 minutes in my locality. Everywhere you go, there's the same story of disturbed sleep, frayed tempers, children crying, difficulty in pumping water. But, JBVNL workers are doing nothing," said Montu Choudhary of Tharpakhna.

Agreed homemaker Savita Mishra of Darling Sai Shradha Tower in Chiroundi locality, whose two-year-old daughter has developed heat rash. "I feel so helpless when I see her cry," said the young mother.

Gautam Kumar Tandasi, a senior officer of a private infrastructure development agency with its office in Ashok Nagar, said power cuts also reduced productivity at the workplace. "For last 10 days every day, power supply is disrupted for at least four hours at different durations. Though the office has an inverter, it can't run ACs and coolers. Working in the heat reduces output. When will JBVNL workers take work seriously?" Tandasi asked.

Civil court advocate Rajesh Kumar and resident of Kusum Vihar said small things like charging one's cellphone becomes a daily battle.

"This morning (Wednesday), I couldn't charge my phone at home as there was no power. I had to keep in touch with a client before a meeting. So I went to court early morning with a dead phone and charged it Ranchi District Bar Association Building," he said.

Contacted for solutions, superintending engineer of JBVNL Ajit Kumar admitted problems in power supply but passed the buck on natural calamities.

"The city requires 310MW power and we get the required quantity," the power distribution authority claimed. "But, we do face problems in case of storms. At specific places, there are local issues," he said.

A junior engineer off the record said Nor'wester-related problems included branches falling on wires, gusty winds snapping wires or even toppling transformers, lightning falling on or rainwater entering transformers. But, in a few places, manmade problems such as hooking power damaged transformers.

So, what could be done to prevent disruptions in power supply due to Nor'westers at least? JBVNL general manager of Ranchi Dhanesh Jha said he asked employees to prune trees close to transmission lines and expedite underground cabling.

Public notice

The JBVNL on Wednesday came out with a public notice asking citizens not to panic over inflated power bills. A new billing agency had been hired and the transition process caused a few errors, the advisory said.

People with inflated power bills can contact the 24/7 call centre (18003456570/ 18001238745) or centralised helpline 1912.