The field staff of Northern Power Distribution Company Limited (NPDCL) used to fear to enter into villages until recently, as they were either locked up in a school or chased away by the villagers enraged by erratic power supply. Now, the staff was confidently walking into these village , thanks to ‘Rythu Mithra’ programme launched by the Corporation in January.

The programme envisages replacement of defunct transformer within 48 hours to 72 hours without putting any cost to the farmer.

Methuku Somaiah of Koduru village in Raghunathpally mandal said , they called up a number given by the NPDCL to complain about the damaged transformer. “We called up around 9 a.m. Though we were told that it will be replaced in two days, surprisingly we got another transformer by 5 p.m. on the same day.

Another farmer Gudu Satyanarayana explained that usually they all pool up money, hire a tractor and take the damaged transformer to Jangaon or Cheriyal for any repairs, which used to take about a week or ten days depending on the queue there, and generally the repairs used to cost them Rs.10,000.

Kagitha Raju of Meedikonda village in Station Ghanpur mandal said the transformer in their village was replaced in 23 hours from the time of complaint. “It usually takes at least ten days. For the first time, we got it in a day,” he said.

Speaking to The Hindu, Superintendent Engineer (NPDCL) V. Mohan Rao said “Replacing a transformer with a complaint over the phone was something which was unheard of in the past. Now we feel proud of our organisation. We are looked up with great respect by the villagers now.”

Chairman and Managing Director Karthikeya Misra, who was behind the success of the programme told the The Hindu that the farmers were facing problems with hired vehicles and the cost involved in transportation and repair of transformers.

Of the complaints about defunct transformers, around 47 per cent were addressed within 24 hours and the remaining 92 per cent were addressed in 48 hours, he added.