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Electricity has been restored in large parts of the State, says Bengal govt.

Army personnel help clean up the streets of Kolkata post cyclone Amphan.

Army personnel help clean up the streets of Kolkata post cyclone Amphan.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

It blames CESC, largest power supply enterprise in State, for inconvenience faced by people

After strong statements against the largest private power distribution company in the State, the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC), the West Bengal Home department in a series of tweets late on Sunday said power has been restored in large parts of the State.

The CESC reported restoration of power “in the neighbourhoods of Laskarhat [Eastern Metropolitan Bypass], Patipukur, Belgachia, Maniktala Main Road, Lords More, Haripada Dutta lane [off Prince Anwar Shar Road], Baktiyar Shah Road [off Prince Anwar Shah Road],” the government said.

All of them are in Kolkata or in the fringe areas, like the EM Bypass.

The State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL) has also claimed to have restored power outside the State capital.

“The latest reports from WBSEDCL is that power at more than half of the areas of Sonarpur, Baruipur, Rajpur Narendrapur, Kakdwip and Namkhana towns has also been restored in the South 24 Parganas. 240 of the affected 273 substations restored.”

 

“The WBSEDCL reports that 213 of the 273 damaged substations in the Amphan affected districts have been revived. Continuous work in high & low tension lines in all places is on to expedite household connections. Significant areas of rural Hooghly and Chandannagore revived,” the government said.

Power was restored in Bongaon, Naihati and the Halishahar Barrackpore towns in the North 24 Parganas (many parts). “Work everywhere going on in 24×7 mode for complete return to normalcy as soon as possible,” a late night official tweet said.

Earlier, the Bengal government said the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC), a RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group company, is responsible for failure to distribute power even 100 hours after the super cyclone Amphan had hit the State. Minister and administrator of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) said people are “inconvenienced by CESC”. This is the first time since the Trinamool Congress (TMC) came to power, it spoke publicly spoke against CESC, owned by one of top business houses of Kolkata.

“People are inconvenienced by the CESC. An additional 360 persons are deployed to chop trees. But people are in trouble, we are sorry. [The functioning of) the CESC is not the responsibility of the KMC or the State government. They informed that power has been restored in 50% neighbourhood,” said Mr. Hakim, considered to be the one of the top TMC leaders close to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

On Saturday Ms. Banerjee visited the CESC headquarters in Esplanade in city’s central area and reportedly questioned its inability to restore power.

 

Mr. Hakim said the CESC did not provide with a list of the trees which are lying all over the city. “The problem is not just because trees could not be removed. It told us they did not have enough staff…the Chief Secretary had a word with it on Sunday.”

Indicating that a section of the politicians are provoking people, Mr. Hakim said the service of the “NDRF and the Army has helped the State government immensely”. The Army personnel could be seen working from the early hours in the streets of Kolkata. Five columns of personnel, with a few additional columns, were deployed on Sunday. Each column, having 35 personnel and divided into small teams, started working from Saturday night. They started working areas like Ballygunje, Southern Avenue near lake, Salt Lake, Parnashree, Behala according to a communication from the Eastern Command. These were some of the areas where a huge number of trees were uprooted. Many multi-purpose JCB mechanical diggers, some of which were put to use by the Army, could be seen in Kolkata since morning and most of the major streets connecting one part of the city to the other were cleaned.

The Army team engaged in cutting trees in Parnashree faced some trouble in the morning. Electric wires were entangled in the trees and the personnel were not sure if the wires were live. As the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) employees were not present to test the wires, the delay led to the residents staging a protest.

At a few places, the employees of the CESC were targeted. In Garia, some of them were beaten up, while police vehicles were attacked too. In Titagarh in the North 24 Paraganas, a loaded lorry was set on fire.

Give some time: Mamata

Ms. Banerjee urged the people to “give some time”. She said, “225 teams working day and night. 36 teams of NDRF will work [from Sunday]. 26 are already deployed. This is a big disaster. Please do not provoke people…it will take a little time but services will be restored very soon,” she said on Saturday.

 

People are taking to social media to narrate their trauma.

Suparna Pathak, a former business news editor, complained of “unprecedented lack of planning” in his neighbourhood, Panchasayar, in south-eastern Kolkata.

“There is total chaos. The CESC staff complained about unprecedented lack of planning despite adequate warning. The Panchasayar cooperative — largest land cooperative — spent its own money to clear roads to ease traffic flow. The government has no clue about the task. The Army should have been called in earlier. Getting mobiles charged is about travelling to the nearest point where there is electricity,” noted Mr. Pathak.

Ashish Ghosh, a Bansdroni resident, said his severely asthmatic wife could not be given oxygen.

“There is no power and the oxygen concentrator cannot function, neither the nebuliser. It is so much traumatic to sleep next to her; [it] appears that she may not able to breathe at times,” the octogenarian said.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 9:49:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/amphan-aftermath-kolkata-continues-to-struggle-without-power-and-water-supply/article31663091.ece

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