Current Electricity Blues In Manipur

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By: Khelsoril Wanbe
The importance and role of electricity in this power-driven age is something that doesn’t need any more explanation, elaboration or analysis. What we often hear from people who have just had the privilege of visiting our neighboring states is that “power is very regular in this or that state.” In Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura etc power supply is said to be much better than Manipur. Here in Manipur too we can claim that power comes and goes at punctual hours: load shedding is very regular and predictable unless interrupted by some transformer or electric post or cyclone problems. If power fails to arrive at the expected hour, we can say, with some measure of confidence that there must be some disturbances in the power transmission lines. Every day we enjoy at least four hours of power supply during day time and five to seven hours at night. We are still expecting the power condition to deteriorate further. So the question arises as to whether we are enjoying exactly what we deserve or are we being made to suffer like mute species. It’s indeed a very sad electricity situation that we are experiencing here in Manipur, India. India is a highly rapidly developing country that is expected to be the richest country in the near future, which may not be true. But, it is at least true that India is a fast developing country. People who have visited other states of India know it very well that despite extreme climatic conditions in those states, electricity condition is far better than what we are enjoying here in MANIPUR. Could this power scarcity here be because of the fact that we do not need much electricity here because our climate is comparatively not so extreme? My point is that here in Manipur, we can somehow survive the summer heat without ceiling or table fans, which will not be possible in cities like Delhi, Kolkota, Chennai, Bengalore, Mumbai and so on. Another reason why we don’t bother much about the irregularity of electric(ity) may be because of the easy availability of generators and invertors. I really wonder whether the few hours of daily electricity supply is sufficient to carry on with our daily business. Payment of electric bills too is now a very complicated problem for for how many years most of us have not paid power taxes. The problem is faced not only by the bill payers but also by the power tax collectors or the government electricity department. The government seems to be encountering a gargantuan problem in connection with power tax collection due to the piling up of mountain high electric bills that have been defaulted by both the public and the government departments. Regarding the power bills owed by the Manipur government departments, it’s still unclear how much remains unpaid. Instead of staging some kind of power show on the public power tariff defaulters, I think, it would be much better to think seriously of a lasting solution. Perhaps, grinding of heads together is what all the concerned parties (the government, the people, civil bodies etc) need to do. How long; how long are we going to suffer from this power crisis? If I’m not mistaken, I think I heard with my own ears, a few years ago, that our power crisis would be over by 2012. 2012 is projected as a danger year by a movie of the same title. Our worry then is whether we are going to meet the doomsday without ever fully tasting the fruits of human civilization. We are now, of course, in possession of all the electronic gadgets, devices and appliances that the modern civilization affords, but without proper supply of electricity what is the meaning of owning a TV, fridge, computer, fan, AC, electric cooker, washing machine, Xerox machine, printing machine and so on and so 4th. In previous years we used to enjoy a more regular supply during rainy seasons, but now that good time has failed to return. Power poverty in this post- nuclear age may be something unbelievable for people living in developed and developing places of the world. Power failure is something very rarely experienced in metropolitan cities like Chennai, Bengalore, Guwahati etc forget about Delhi and Mumbai. A once in a blue moon blackout may be tolerated with little complaint, but having to experience it on a regular basis does not fail to give us the feeling that we are still living in the past centuries. I feel, it’s high time now for the government to try to bring a solution to this problem. Some kind of long term plan needs to be formulated without wasting many more precious months and years. We the public too need to understand the need to pay bills regularly and timely. Power inequality too is something to be properly taken into consideration and done away with. The aristocrats, kings and queens too need to experience the pleasure of having to endure hot, dark summer nights without electricity. They too need to feel the electricity blues that the hoi polloi are singing in their humble homes! The climate of Manipur too is changing for the worse and thus the need of using electric fans too increasing. Don’t get me wrong; this is just one example. Electricity, nowadays, is no longer a luxury but a real necessity for one and all, rich and poor, young and old. But electricity should not be made available in exchange of something more valuable or dearer human survival. Proper power management, of course, is something that should be given proper thought by one and all. The big question now is how electricity/power supply is reportedly very regular in other states, and how/ why that is not the case here in this godforsaken corner of the world. This is something to be seriously pondered upon by the government and the people before being left far behind.

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