Power crisis: Dear Nitish, people can’t be fooled for long

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Recent pandemonium in Bihar Assembly over deteriorating power condition in the State raises serious question about the good governance claim of former Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Every year, summer season becomes a harrowing time for the people of Bihar, reason being so-called Vikas Purush of State cheated common man by doing nothing to improve power shortage crisis. Entire Bihar is reeling under scorching heat just because Nitish Kumar didn't show intent to improve the situation. The Central Government time and again provided helping hand in terms of funds but the State Chief Minister just not rose to occasion and failed in resuscitating the ailing power plants.

Eight and half years is more than enough to come out with a solution but Kumar because of his lackadaisical approach didn't do anything on the crisis. According to reports, not even a single electricity generating unit is working properly in Bihar and that is seriously alarming. Two years ago, during a speech in Patna, Nitish Kumar himself had admitted about the acute power shortage and underscored that point that if he will not change the situation he will not ask for votes.

"We are making sincere efforts to improve the situation but if we fail to make positive changes, I will not go asking for your votes in 2015 Assembly elections," he had said at Gandhi Maidan in 2012.

BJP is also somehow responsible for the grim situation as they were in alliance with JD(U) which came to an end in 2013. Former alliance of JD(U) is now blaming Chief Minister for present situation. "During the eight years of tenure as Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar might have made several tall claims but regarding the improvement in power scenario in the State, has become the laughing stock", BJP State president Mangal Pandey said.

Kanti and Barauni thermal power units still not revamped

As Assembly election is due next year, it will be very tough for Nitish Kumar to live up to the expectations of people. He wastes no time in asking BJP where are ache din but then why it renegade on his promises every time?

Recent rout in Lok Sabha election must be taken as a warning as people can't be deceived over and over again. JD(U) should take immediate precautionary measure unless it becomes too late.

Dismal record on power

Bihar has abysmal record on power shortage. According to a report, only around 950MW electricity is available against the demand of 1,500MW, which comes to around 95 units against the national average of 717 units. Bihar faces acute shortage of 1,000 MW of power a day, according to the State Electricity Board.

The gravity of the situation can be gauged by the fact that every second day people come to road protesting power supply. Residents have to go without power even for months at times. Except capital not a single district gets more than six hour supply. The district which is seriously affected are Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Saharsa, Gaya, Jehanabad, Darbhanga, Bettiah, Sitamarhi, Madhubani and Aurangabad. Because of insufficient power supply, agriculture and manufacturing sector are bearing the brunt.

Shirking away from responsibility 

Although State Government is putting blame on the Centre, but fact of the matter is State leadership themselves are not serious about the issue. According to a report, revamping of thermal power plants, two units each in Kanti (Muzzaparpur) and Barauni were recommended in 2005 and for that Centre had even sanctioned Rs 1053 crore. But after nine years, only one unit of Kanti could be revamped. Experts believe that if all units would have started then that would have been a big booster. Gujarat was in similar condition in 2002 but because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's long vision and true intention, Gujarat presently is producing 2,114 megawatts of surplus power. Report says, Gujarat is producing 1,00,50 MW electricity, maximum among the State. When Gujarat can write a turnaround story after starting with miserable record, then why Bihar can't?

Clearly, the reason is lack of strong will and nothing else. It seems that Nitish Kumar and his party has not learnt anything from the recent defeat in Lok Sabha election.

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