The dream for 24x7 power supply still remains a far-fetched one for the people of Tamenglong district in Manipur as even after 75 years of Independence, the district continues to suffer from erratic power supply causing untold inconveniences for the public.
Electricity is one of the most essential necessities of day-to-day life. However, in Tamenglong district, people have been deprived of this basic necessity. In the month of October, 2021, Tamenglong district headquarters received power for 17 days only while in September, the district headquarter received electricity for 21 days, not counting half-day off or two-three hours of erratic or planned shutdown by the department concerned in the name of repairing stringing, jungle cutting, pole shifting, among others.
Forget about the far flung villages of the district, the district headquarters is reeling under frequent total blackout, hampering daily business work, office work, online class, etc.
Emergency shutdown due to landslide, tree felling, lack of materials, double lane construction work and the step motherly treatment from state government by sanctioning very few staffing, are some of the reasons cited by the department concerned.
Speaking to the Imphal Free Press, MSPDCL deputy manager Diliamang Gangmei said that at present Tamenglong electricity department is looking after 33 kv power line from Rengpang to control room Tamenglong, and the 11 kv line from control room Tamenglong to different villages within Tamenglong district, including Tousem sub-division and Tamei sub-division by only eight line men.
However, as per gazetted notification, 33 kv power line from Rengpang to control room Tamenglong should be looked after by Manipur State Power Company Limited (MSPCL), he said.
There are no staff or lineman sanctioned in Tamenglong to look after the 33 kv power line from Tamenglong to Rengpang power sub- station, he added.
Whenever there is an emergency shutdown between Rengpang and Tamenglong, daily wages labour has to be picked up to restore the power at the earliest in the interest of the general public, he said.
Looking after the 11kv by only eight linemen is also extremely hard, particularly during the power crisis as the number of power lines have increased but the number of linemen is decreasing every year due to retirement, he said.
Meanwhile, BSNL Tamenglong officials told the IFP that BSNL is facing a tough time due to frequent, erratic power supply. For back up, BSNL has generators but the challenges in supplying diesel from Imphal to Oinamlong BTS, is another reason behind the interruption of its service to customers.
“BSNL Tamenglong has tried its best to provide electricity back up to the main stations like Tamenglong and Oinamlong. However, the department has very limited resources in supplying diesel for providing the electricity back up due to financial constraints,” he added.
Due to frequent erratic power supply, mobile charging facilities have been opened privately by those who have power sources in the interest of the general public. One person can recharge mobile batteries on payment of Rs 50 per mobile phone.