People in the various cities of Jharkhand have received the short end of the stick from the power major Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) after it started carrying out an 18-hour load shedding per day, starting on Tuesday, the day of Holi, to realize dues worth Rs. 4,995 crore from Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited (JBVNL), The Telegraph India reported.
DVC Director (commercial) AK Dey said that the company was facing a sever funds crisis. “The load shedding has been initiated as the last resort after several communications with JBVNL to ensure payment of dues failed to draw the desired response,” he said.
The power cuts have not just hampered the functioning of industrial and commercial establishments, but common households too are facing difficulties in performing normal chores like operating washing machines and filling up overhead water tanks.
Dainik Bhaskar reported that the Commercial Department of DVC has issued a letter in 6 hours to cut it by 2 hours and has also fixed the time for power cuts in all the districts. Only 2 hours of electricity will be supplied every 6 hours. In this way, there will be 2 hours of power supply after every 6 hours in 24 hours.
The move has sparked anger among residents of Dhanbad, Giridih, Hazaribagh, Ranchi, Chhatra, Bokaro, Koderma and East Singhbhum districts. In Dhanbad, the most populous city of Jharkhand, the power crisis has adversely affected places like Nirsa, Tundi, Topchanchi, Sindri, Katras and Jharia. However, the situation in Dhanbad town is slightly better as it received power supply through the newly established Kandra grid substation.
Traders under the Federation of Dhanbad Zilla Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FDZCCI) have threatened to launch a protests within a day or two after holding an emergency meeting on the matter.
FSZCCI General Secretary, Ajay Narayan Lal said, “There is no logic behind penalising common customers for the fault of the state government. I have sent a WhatsApp message to the chief minister drawing his attention to our problems. We will be compelled to launch a massive agitation if the stalemate continues.”
However, JBVNL’s Dhanbad unit General Manager Pratosh Kumar said, “We are ensuring maximum power supply to Dhanbad town and efforts are also on to minimise the problem in other areas.”
At Hazaribagh, Chandan Singh who was leading a protest held by members of the JMM Chhatra Morcha at the local JBVNL office said, “Why are the residents of the seven districts being made the scapegoat when it was the fault of Raghubar Das government? We will launch a bigger agitation if the situation does not improve.”
President of Bokaro Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sanjay Baid, had earlier said: “The DVC has a majority of its power plants in Jharkhand and also uses resources such as coal. We have to bear the pollution caused by its power plants, but the company doesn’t think twice before carrying out power cuts here.”
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren who visited his native village in Ramgarh district on Wednesday lashed out at the Centre for the plight of the people. He said, “As far as I know, DVC’s dues have reached up to Rs 50,000 crore in other states, but no such load-shedding is taking place anywhere. DVC falls under the Government of India. After consultation, the state government will take a decision on the matter.”
The problem of load shedding in Jharkhand is not new as several districts have been facing power cuts of up to 12 hours per day since 2015. In 2018, residents of Hirapur had ransacked the local power substation and blocked the adjoining road demanding immediate restoration of uninterrupted power supply.