Fani aftermath: Power supply restoration hindered by lack of coordination

Bhubaneswar: It’s been more than eight days since cyclone Fani made its landfall in coastal Odisha bringing the power infrastructure to its knees. Though additional manpower and new-age equipment have been pressed into service, it is alleged that lack of coordination between agencies and negligence are hampering restoration work in the capital city of Bhubaneswar leading to public outrage.

A 40-member team of skilled employees and labourers from Telangana has been assigned the task of linking the 11KV lines with 33KV lines, but as the State government is yet to give power line clearance, restoration work has not resumed.

The Energy department has also failed to assign work to another team of skilled workers who have come from Kolkata for the restoration work. As a result of which, pace of the restoration work has been majorly affected, informed sources.

“We are waiting for the local authorities to give us the materials. Only after getting them we would be able to complete the work,” said Sudhir Reddy, Engineer-in-charge of the team from Telangana.

Senior Engineer of West Bengal Electricity Board, Srinivas Rout said, “Had things been more organized, we could have helped more. We are ready to work day and night but we should be utilised properly by the Odisha govt.”

Energy Secretary Hemant Sharma had assured that by May 12 all the consumers in Bhubaneswar will get power supply but the claims seem to be poles apart from reality as power supply is yet to be restored in many areas.

Residents of several areas of the capital city have hit the streets in the last few days alleging negligence by the State government.

“Political leaders only visited us when they wanted votes, now nobody is coming forward to resolve our issue,” said a Bhubaneswar resident.

Many consumers are also visiting Central Electricity Supply Utility of Odisha (CESU) office with their complaints but many of them allege that the department is not concerned about the plight of the general public.

According to CESU, there are 3,25,000 consumers in all the three divisions of Bhubaneswar, which is again contrary to State government’s claim of 2,39,000 consumers of which it is said that 2,01,000 have got power supply.

“It’s been 10 days without power that to in the capital city. If they have manpower and equipment, why are they still not providing power?” another resident of Bhubaneswar said.

Information and Public Relations Secretary Sanjay Singh said, “We still stand by our statement that power will be completely restored in urban Bhubaneswar by May 12.”