Proximity to High Court Bench proves to be a boon for them

Residents of Madurai have been complaining of Chennai being subjected to just two hours of power cut a day compared to anywhere between eight to 14 hours here.

But little do they know that even within Madurai there are a few privileged residential localities which enjoy 24 hours of uninterrupted power supply, thanks to their proximity to the Madras High Court Bench.

The localities around a Corporation School at Ulaganeri near here and Rajiv Gandhi Nagar have been completely exempted from load hedding as they were connected to a feeder which provided nonstop power supply to the High Court Bench. The Principal Seat of the High Court in Chennai had passed an order in 2007 prohibiting powers cuts in court complexes. The residents of the localities near the High Court Bench refrain from disclosing to others the comfortable power position in their areas. They fear that the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) might not spare them too from load shedding if the news leaks out. However, teachers and students of the Corporation School were candid in their response.

"We are very lucky, there is no power cut here. We don’t undergo the ordeal faced by people across the State. The power is shut down only very rarely (for maintenance works). It has been a reason for rising real estate prices here. Many High Court Bench employees have purchased plots here and some of them have constructed houses too," a local resident said.

“Can’t afford feeder”

When contacted, a TANGEDCO official said that those localities had been allowed to enjoy non-stop power supply because the corporation cannot afford to spend money on installing a separate feeder for them. Apart from the High Court, the Government Rajaji Hospital, Aavin premises, Maattuthavani bus stand and the Meenakshi Amman Temple campus here had been exempted from regular load shedding.

The official further stated that electricity consumers in general could heave a sigh of relief now as the load shedding duration had been reduced from 14 to eight hours for the last two days.

"You would have noticed that we have not been implementing load shedding during night hours since Monday. It is because of availability of additional power from different sources. The situation will improve further," he added.

Nevertheless, residents of Madurai do not seem to be falling for such predictions which have gone wrong on many occasions.

"Every day is a struggle for us and life has become a question mark every morning for want of two very basic requirements — water and electricity. I think we should try and generate more power before working towards becoming a super power," said an anguished advocate M. Thinakaran here.

Expressing similar sentiment, T.Murugu Ilakkuvan, who lives in a fifth floor apartment here, said: "When there are power cuts continuously for three hours, we could not use elevators because the resident welfare association is unable to afford the high cost of diesel. During the day, the lift is virtually non-functional. I don’t know how we are going to manage during the hot summer months,"

D. Elan Kathir, a cinema hall owner, said that power cuts were eating away his profits as he was dependant on generators.

"I am spending Rs.2, 000 a day for purchasing diesel. Imagine the situation when the theatre is not full but still I have to run the generator," he pointed out.

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