Staff Reporter

Congress decides to make it a major issue during the elections

Issue speaks volumes for failure of Naveen regime, says Chandrasekhar Sahu

Poor maintenance said to be the reason for the situation

BERHAMPUR: Frequent undeclared power cuts due to low maintenance may prove to be a major hindrance for the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) during the elections in Berhampur.

The Congress has decided to make it a major electoral issue during the elections. Union Minister of State for Rural Development Chandrasekhar Sahu, who is contesting as Congress candidate from Berhampur parliamentary seat, said the dismal state of power distribution on the home turf of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and State Energy Minister Suryanarayan Patro spoke volumes for the failure of the State Government in power sector.

During last few days, the city has been experiencing slight drizzle along with some wind in the afternoon. But the citizens are not getting delighted by this respite in hot summer. They know any drizzle coincides with sudden undeclared arbitrary power-cut. In most of the cases the technicians of the power distribution company ‘Southco’ snap power supply as they do not feel safe to keep continue power supply through the ill-maintained power supply system.

It may be noted that in 2008 the Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) had also remarked that electricity supply in the Berhampur city may collapse any day due to its dismal maintenance. The OERC had felt that interruption of power supply was quite high in Berhampur. A probe team of the OERC had found that 87 per cent of the power interruptions in the city were due to breakdowns which occurred due to lack of periodic preventive maintenance, bad workmanship and may be due to use of substandard materials in the system.

Mr Sahu said since the 1999 super cyclone the power supply network in the city had remained precarious. It was alleged that the power supply system remained in the same state. “It is an irony that the distribution loss of power is 48 per cent in Orissa while in adjoining Andhra it is 12 per cent,” Mr Sahu said.

Bikram Panda, Congress candidate from Berhampur Assembly seat, said through power problems, the Congress had got a good issue on a platter.

People of each and every area of the city are related to this continuing problem due to lack of maintenance by the power distribution company although Berhampur is the home town of BJD leader and state energy minister, Mr Patro, he added. Despite promises by the Chief Minister and the Energy Minister that there would be no power-cuts this summer, the undeclared power-cuts do continue, which the Congress candidate wanted to put forward before his electorate.