Gaya: Over five weeks after it took over power distribution in Gaya town, Manpur and Bodh Gaya, India Power struggles to fulfill high expectations of the nearly one lakh power users tagged to the company. India Power took over on June 1, 2014 after the failure of nearly half a dozen deadlines beginning January 1, 2014.
Rainy season has never been good for either Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Limited or South Bihar Power Holding Corporation, India Power’s predecessors in the field of power supply in Gaya and Bodh Gaya. Old-timers recall the basic infrastructure was laid by the state electricity board in the late fifties of the last century when power requirement was limited to lights and, in few cases, ceiling/table fans. The series of gadgets including airconditioners, air coolers, refrigerators, pumps, mixers, grinders and television sets, to name only a few, virtually did not exist in the twin cities then.
No major infrastructural change has taken place since then and the work claimed to have been done by the PowerGrid and other agencies, according to activist S B Bhaskar, has been at best cosmetic.
Old-timers also recall the pre-monsoon pruning of the trees to facilitate hassle-free power supply was routinely done till the seventies and things went from bad to worse thereafter. If India Power officials are to be believed, the environment and forest department too was responsible for the agony of Gaya power users as the department during the numerous plantation drives planted trees with little roots. Deep-root trees have not been planted by the department with the result that though the trees from outside look majestic, even gentle winds make them fall.
India Power struggles to overcome the infrastructural shortcomings. According to Central Bihar Chamber of Commerce president D K Jain, power users expect the new distributor to provide uninterrupted quality power with little/no voltage fluctuations and error-free billing. The business body chief feels all this cannot be achieved overnight and some time must be given to the power distributor to put its act together.
Activist Braj Nandan Pathak, who has been on the forefront of the struggle for better power supply in the town, says India Power has got its priorities wrong. Whereas the company, according to Pathak, has done little to gain the confidence of the power users particularly those living in the less privileged localities, it has slapped fancy bills on poor power users. In many cases, consumers, who as per the company’s own record, have consumed less than 300 units, have been served bills for Rs five thousand and more, alleged Pathak.