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Neglected Measures Towards Power Failure

The cricket commentary was on the air. I was glued to my receiving set. Suddenly there comes an irritating pause. The Announcer calmly says “We regret—there have been some disturbances in the program due to Power failure”. Yes, a failure in the supply of power is very annoying. There may be a thousand and one causes for such unwanted failures. But before we go into it, let us trace how power came in our State.

When it was a princely State, a Board for development of Hydro Power had been set up under the caption ‘The Manipur State Hydro-Electric Board’ under the ex-officio Chairmanship of the Political Agent, having 4 members of the Manipur State Durbar and two members from the public during 1920-30 and the Board had sub-ordinate Staff. The first Hydro Power House was installed at Leimakhong, 25 kms from Imphal in 1930 having two Hydro sets of 100 KW and 56 KW and it was exclusively meant for electrification of Imphal and its suburbs. Subsequently two diesel sets of 62.0 KW and 46.0 KW were installed in a power House in the centre of Imphal Town.

This set up continued upto October 1949 when Manipur ceased to be a princely State and became a part of State and an Electricity Department was formed under an Electrical Engineer (Class II) who had one Assistant Electrical Engineer (also Class II) and other subordinate staff to assist him. The department was made permanent. This independent Electrical Department continued upto 1957 when Manipur attained the status of a Union Territory. At this time, the permanent Electrical Department was merged with the PWD and became a temporary Division under the name ‘Imphal Building and Electrical Division’. And from the month of February 1970, the management of electricity supply in the State has been organized under the electricity department, quite independent from PWD. The main objective of the Electrical Circle (Electricity Department) is to promote co­ordinated development of generation and distribution of Electricity within the State covering both Urban and Rural areas.

Causes of unwanted power failure:

The comparative study of power received by the State vis-a-vis its demand shows that there is always insufficient power to meet the requirement of the genuine users (consumers). Losses of power in transmission and distribution system are also a big factor for the insufficient power in the State. Half of the quantum of power imported by the State from the outside source is received by the consumers due to the transmission and distribution losses of power which is a technical aspect. Theft or unauthorized connection is another factor for insufficient power to be supplied to the genuine consumers. We may give causes on the power failure or the reason of load shedding resorted by the Electricity Department in four different situations i.e. i) the power purchased by the Electricity department is not sufficient to meet the requirement of the registered consumers, ii) the further deterioration in power supply system in the State is due to technical losses i.e. the transmission and distribution losses, iii) the State Government does not have willingness to enhance the present quantum of power purchased from outside and iv) the Engineers of the Electricity department are lazy in the work of minimizing the transmission and distribution losses by using their technical knowledge and experience, although they know the reason and remedies of these losses.

Remedies for power failure:

The shortfall of the power in the State is a priority area and it is very annoying situation among the people when they do not get the regular power supply. So Government has to do something by addition and subtraction method in the budget allocation. The Government can purchase power from Power Trading Corporation anytime to meet the present additional demand of power for the State by allocating some more money in the annual budget for the Electricity Department. Government has to be run and Government has to look after the welfare and need of the people, because Government is for the people, of the people and by the people etc. The Engineers and the staffs of the department are required to be sincere and dedicated to the works of minimizing the transmission and distribution losses. Half of the power purchased by the State from the outside is lost in the transmission and distribution system. We all know that there is almost no power generation of our own in our State due to which we have to purchase power from outside our State. Theft of power by unauthorized consumers should be strictly detected for disconnection and befitting punishment should be given to them so that this unauthorized used power may go to the registered consumers.

Lastly, it is imperative to add one unknown but very crucial aspect i.e. the commercial losses as far as revenue and non-plan money required for purchase of power from other source are concerned. The money for purchase of power is from the non-plan budget and revenue received from the sale of energy plays important role in this sector.

More revenue should be collected for more non-plan allocation in the budget. For collection of more revenue from the sale of energy we require to minimize the commercial losses which comprise low billing of electric consumption charges and insincere act of the field staffs. The basic prerequisite for the economic progress of a State is adequate availability of power. Without proper increase in generation or availability of power, industrialization and development cannot forge ahead. When the power production or its availability is sufficient in our State, we can expect not only comfort from electricity in every house, but also the industrial development.

*The opinion is written by Er P Jadumani Singh.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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*The Sangai Express- Largest Circulated News Paper In Manipur
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