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Manipur ponders on power scenario - Officials, people meet to resolve crisis

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  • Published 7.01.11

Imphal, Jan. 6: A joint meeting between officials of the Manipur electricity department, members of citizen bodies and intellectuals today raised hopes of a better power situation in Manipur in the coming months.

The discussion, organised by the Imphal-based Forum for Indigenous Perspectives and Action, is the first of its kind in the state where government authorities and members of the public together discussed issues concerning the state and the people and found out where things went wrong.

Usually citizens’ organisations discuss issues separately and do not take part in any discussion organised by the state on any issue.

The public discussion on the electricity crisis in Manipur was an attempt to find out why the power situation was so dismal and what steps could be taken to ensure uninterrupted power supply.

The suggestions that came up at the meeting included approaching the court for seeking directions to the state electricity department to provide regular power supply to the consumers.

Manipur has the worst power scenario not only in the Northeast but also in the country. During peak hours, the state requires 170 to 180MW.

The state buys 90MW from power corporations, including Neepco and NHPC. Of this, 80 per cent of the power is lost every month because of power theft, officials of the power department said.

At present, a consumer in the state gets only three hours of power while the neighbouring states like Nagaland, Mizoram and Assam get 24-hour power supply.

“We are buying power worth Rs 11.5 crore every month. But we can collect only Rs 1.5 crore from the consumers,” said R.K. Kishore, the additional chief engineer of the power department.

Kishore blamed consumers for the state of affairs. He also admitted to wrong-doings in the department.

He said the government will soon introduce prepaid metres to improve things.

Amar Yumnam, a professor of economic at Manipur University, held the government responsible for the situation.

Lawyer Meihoubam Rakesh, senior journalist Pradip Phanjoubam and P. Arunkumar, the president of Consumers Club, Manipur, also blamed the government.

Bimol Akoijam of JN University, Delhi, who moderated the discussion, regretted that people in Manipur did not complain about the state of affairs and industries were severely hampered because of acute shortage of power.

“Today is only the beginning. We will definitely pursue the issue and see that Manipur gets uninterrupted power within three to four months,” Akoijam said.