Activists of the Congress and the CPI (M) staged separate demonstrations in front of the corporate headquarters private power distribution company, Southco, in the city on Monday to protest against delay in restoration of power supply in Phailin cyclone-hit Ganjam district and Berhampur.
The Congress activists were led by former Union Minister Chandra Sekhar Sahu, district Congress chief Bhagaban Gantayat, city unit president Sanjit Panigrahy and Bikram Panda. The CPI (M) rally was headed by its State secretariat member Ali Kishore Patnaik, leader of Odisha Krushak Sabha (OKS) Kailash Sadangi, CITU activists Basant Nanda, etc.
CPI (M) leader Mr Patnaik demanded that the Southco authorities arrange for kerosene and lamps or candles for consumers to whom the company was till now unable to provide electricity supply. “If the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) is providing drinking water in case it is unable to provide it through pipelines to some areas, then why cannot the private power distribution company do the same?,” he questioned.
The MD of the Reliance Energy Limited (REL) managed Southco, Prashant Choudhary held separate discussions with the Congress and the CPI (M) agitators to pacify them. Congress leader Mr Sahu said they had no intention to disrupt the restoration work of power sector in any way but had to come out as the Odisha Chief Minister, Revenue and Energy Ministers, etc were providing contradictory statements related to resumption of power supply in Phailin cyclone-hit areas of Ganjam district and Berhampur. He also came up with a suggestion before the Southco authorities for power supply through underground cables in Berhampur city.
The MD of the Southco promised that power supply to all areas in Ganjam and Gajapati districts was expected to be restored by end of October. He claimed that during the super cyclone of 1999 it had taken around a month for resumption of power supply in Ganjam district but this time it would be early despite larger loss to infrastructure. The company with its own 1,522 personnel along with additional support of 2,400 skilled personnel from NTPC, OHPC, L&T, NHPC, REL Mumbai & Delhi Discoms, PGCIL,Tata Steel was involved in restoration work. According to him, around one lakh poles had been uprooted and around 10,000 kilometres of cables had been damaged. He claimed that by Tuesday around 75 per cent of the inhabitants in Berhampur would get power supply and the rest would be able to get it by the end of October. Out of 22 feeders in the city 15 had been charged. There were 41 substations in the city out of which 35 had been damaged. The areas in Berhampur where the resumption of power supply was expected to be delayed till end of this month were Ambapua, Goods Shed Road, Industrial Estate, Hill Patna, Lanjipalli, Income Tax office area, etc.
The Southco MD promises to restore power supply to all areas in Ganjam and Gajapati districts by end of October