Sunday, February 25, 2018
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power cut


Allahabad’s honeymoon with the Mahakumbh bounty of uninterrupted electricity supply has come to an end from today. ‘Bijli Rani’ will wear a long ghunghat  for three hours and no matter how much you woo her, pester her, she will not yield an inch but will go on saying, ‘Ghunghat nahin kholun ki saiyan tore aage’. Once again we will be undergoing the torture of  scheduled power cuts from  March 1 from 10am till 1pm and  unscheduled  disruption in supply for hours on end. You will be very lucky if you have to undergo just the three-hour scheduled cut.

Of course not everyone was enjoying the honeymoon with uninterrupted power supply till now. In several localities power played the truant for many hours at a stretch. And the pet explanation—‘local fault’-- was there each time one questioned why electricity is off despite the promise of continuous supply. During the honeymoon period there was one advantage. In case of electricity breakdown,  if a sub-station was contacted, they would  give some sort of an explanation- like overloading of lines due to power thefts and Katia menace. But  now it  may be difficult to get anybody on phone as in most cases the mobiles are likely to be switched  off. But as and when, one manages to contact the complaint cell, the reply one may get  is: ‘Power rostering on orders from Lucknow’. If you ask: ‘Please contact Lucknow to find out when the electricity will be restored’, the reply one may get is: ‘Lucknow cannot be contacted as they have put off their phones’. And then the locals too would do the same . If in disgust you personally rush to the sub-station to lodge your complaint, you may find the place already surrounded by hundreds of consumers, some using foulest possible language and others trying to force entry into the sub-station. You may rush back speedily to escape the lathi-wielding cops who always choose soft targets to wreak their vengeance upon. After all they get disturbed in their sleep during duty time. Some of them , sleeping uncomfortably with uniforms on, are awakened when they are loudly snoring after ever-eating free snacks and liquor  served by defaulting roadside vendors.  This will be the story till the summer lasts. In fact it will worsen when summer advances and load increases manifold due to overuse of  ACs and coolers. You will be left crooning in wilderness: ‘Bijli, bijli pukarun main ban mein..’  or  ‘..tu chhipi hai kahan main tarapta yahan’.

Ban  ear-drubbing, smoky  generators causing air & sound pollution

Summer time is also described by many as generator-time. In spite of hike in diesel price, the demand for running power-generators has not gone down because the pinch of the purse is less severe than the  punch of power failure.  Some years ago an order had been passed that thenceforth all power-generator users  will have to ensure that their sets are covered with a sound-proof canopy which, it was claimed, could be used to cover the old generating equipment as well. But so far as new sets are concerned, manufacturers were told to produce only sets having canopies as they make the least noise.

At many places these have been set up too. But a bulk of consumers, having the ear -shattering non-canopied ones, continue to make loud noise; and if they have not been maintained  properly with regular servicing, then the sound and air pollution which they will cause might become unbearable.  In the past we did find the Nagar Nigam and the ADA taking action against people who had placed those generators, safely tucked inside iron cages,  on the roadside outside the shopping complexes. Apart from emitting thick black smoke, the sound that they were making was unbearable even for passersby. The plight of the people of the neighbourhood can well be imagined.

There was a report that the lights from Mahakumbh will be shifted to the areas in the city where needed. That is to be welcomed. But what about the generators, the special ones, that were kept in readiness to meet any emergency caused by sudden power failure? They were arranged from funds sanctioned for the Mahakumbh. Hence, it would be in the fitness of things to demand that these generators be utilized in the city to run tube-wells when there is no power so that water supply to the citizens is not affected, as of now. These powerful generators could be and should be used to run emergency services so that normal life is not disrupted.

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