Employees of power utility held hostage by villagers

Patna, Sep 11: A state-run electricity company on Monday alleged that around 150 of its employees and their family members have been held hostage by a group of people demanding illegal electricity supply to their villages in Bihar's Aurangabad district.

The 150 employees of the Bharatiya Rail Bijlee Company Limited (BRBCL) and their family members are being held hostage in a township since Sunday evening by people of Surar and neighbouring villages, Vishwanath Chandan, NTPC manager (public relations), Patna, told PTI.

The BRBCL is a joint venture between the NTPC and Indian Railways, and located in Aurangabad with 1000 MW (4X250MW) capacity.

"The electricity generated by the BRBCL is supplied to the railways and Bihar government. Transmission and distribution of the generated power is not in our domain and we can not supply power to any other entity," Chandan said.

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An FIR was lodged that said the villagers pelted stones, burnt tyres at the main gate of the BRBCL township and cut supplies of essential commodities such as milk, vegetables and medicines by not allowing anyone either to enter or exit the township. Over 100 villagers are blocking the township.

Stating that the people of township were feeling insecure and apprehending threat to their lives and properties, the company sought police intervention at the earliest, Chandan said.

BRBCL sources alleged that the villagers used to pilfer electricity generated by the BRBCL from underground cables for over seven years, but it was snapped three days ago following a short circuit.

Talks between the local administration and villagers have failed to resolve the crisis, Chandan added.

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