Erratic electricity and winter woes

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By Yumlembam Albert
IMPHAL, January 8: Considering the erratic power supply that one gets in the state since past many years, one can say that the people of the state are a lot more enduring than people of most other states. Random interactions with the people in and around Imphal revealed that people are struggling in their quest to find alternative ways to lighten their homes given the fact that the shortage of power supply continues unabated.

Some of the most common alternatives includes inverters, generators and solar lamps available in the market. The market as such is flooded with Indian made as well as Chinese made inverters and generators.

The insufficient power supply has become a burden to students affecting their studies and while for those preparing for board exams or competitions, it is the worst.

Koijam Stalin Meitei of Langol Games village, Zone 4 said, “Before 2005 power supply was sufficient, but the following years have observed the poorest supply of power and adversely affecting most almost all the households”, and added “We rely on inverter at night as there is no guarantee when the power will come and when it will go off, it has affected my study routine and has also affected my family in various other ways”.

Y Sanatombi of Wangkhei Lourembam Leikai, a student of Kendra Vidyalaya  Lamphelpat, who is preparing for her Board exam, said “Irregular power supply has affected my studies a lot when it is the board exams, a time for extensive studying periods. I cannot study for long periods even with an inverter simply because there isn`t enough power every day to charge them. Using candles for studying gives me eye strain but yes,  I can definitely extend my study time if power supply is available”.

Home-makers and women who have to take on the responsibility of cooking, ironing of clothes and for boiling water have had their daily routine greatly affected. Most said they have to adjust their household chores and routines according to the power supply of the day. 

A housewife, Ibehanbi (name changed) of Porompat Seram Leirak says she uses fire woods or charcoal to boil or heat water for drinking or bathing proposes. “We have to take our baths in the morning but we have to resort to heating water using firewood or use charcoal fire and that too, in the dark!” she added.

Apart from students and home makers, those who are  financially weaker are at the receiving end of this persistent power problem. Ganesh Singh, a resident of Mahabali village and hailing from Bihar said, “Most people in the locality can afford the use of inverters or generators as alternatives but for those of us who cannot, it’s very hard even to cook when there is no lights as we have to rely on lanterns, candles and chargeable lamps which are not only expensive to maintain and not sufficient enough, to light up the rooms.”

However the electric department in their defense has reiterated that it is the collective responsibility of the consumers as well as the authorities for the prevailing power situation. An electricity official on condition of anonymity said “It’s a vicious circle”. He said, “In spite of the best efforts of the department and help from the Home Ministry in providing police personnel during revenue collection drives, the revenue collection remains very low”.

He also added that there is a huge gap between the cost of purchase of power and the revenue collection in the tune of approximately  8 crores per month. “As a result, the department is not in a position to deliver regular power supply to the power starved consumers,” he added.

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