Hundreds protest power cuts in Bihar

April 15th, 2011 - 8:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Patna, April 15 (IANS) Long power cuts due an an acute power shortage, coupled with the soaring mercury, have sparked protests in many parts of Bihar with angry people Friday blocking roads, burning rubber tyres and ransacking electricity board offices, police said.

Hundreds of people staged protests in nearly half a dozen districts, including Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur, Madhubani, Bhojpur and Sheikhpura. Some protesters threatened to paralyse their respective towns if power shortage continued Saturday.

“People in Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur,Bhojpur and Madhubani blocked roads, burnt tyres and ransacked BSEB (Bihar State Electricity Board) offices during protests Friday ,” a police officer said.

People in Gaya, a Budhhist pilgrimage and an international tourist centre, get electricity for only four to five hours a day.

Protests against acute power shortage have broken out in state since last month.

While Bihar has a daily requirement of 2,200-2,500 MW,it produces only 45-50 MW of power. The central government supplies around 750 to 900 MW.

The state is facing a power deficit of around 1,000-1,200 MW a day, officials said.

Millions in Bihar are still living in the lantern age as electricity has become a luxury for people in most parts. Patna is an exception of sorts, but most small towns and district headquarters are badly hit by the power shortage.

Energy Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav has said time and again the power situation cannot improve unless Bihar’s own generation and central allocation is increased substantially.

Last month the issue rocked the Bihar assembly when many legislators, including ruling coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Amerendra Pratap Singh cautioning the state government that there was a serious danger of law and order if power supply was not regular.

Singh said that power shortage has led to widespread resentment among the people.

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