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Home News Power Sector News Prime minister visits Malda-No power to villagers for 72 hours

Prime minister visits Malda-No power to villagers for 72 hours

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Manmohan SinghMore than 5,000 people are having to do without electricity — this will continue for 72 hours — as the administration has brought down the high-tension lines around the helipad at Netaji Ground where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is scheduled to land on 07-12-2008.The move — made on the instructions of the special protection group (SPG) — has angered the residents of 40 villages who said such a step had not been taken earlier. Fearing resistance, a team of 12 policemen led by two officers was deployed at the ground, 12km from here, while bringing down the high-tension lines. “How is that we shall suffer for over 72 hours and all because the Prime Minister will be here for a few minutes?” asked Uday Mondal, a resident of Daibakipur village, 12km from here.

Mondal recalled that Congress president Sonia Gandhi had landed on the same helipad in April, prior to the panchayat elections. But no such “excesses” were committed at that time, he said. Singh, however, is the first Prime Minister to land on this ground.“But none of us can remember having to suffer power cuts because of the VIP visits. All these places have high tension wires,” said Mondal.

The divisional engineer of the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited, Dipak Mondal, said the power supply in the high-tension lines would be restored on December 8. Till then, 65 transformers will remain deactivated. Villages on either side of the Malda-Kotwali-Pukuria state highway for a distance of 5km will be affected. “It will cost the power department over Rs 50,000 to deactivate and restore electricity. Nearly 5,000 people will be affected,” said the divisional engineer.

District magistrate Sridhar Ghosh said: “Our hands are tied. We have to act according to the instructions of the SPG which has been looking after the VVIP security.” The decision, he said, was taken in a meeting with the visiting SPG team.

As part of its security drive, the SPG has been questioning people who live along the route Singh is scheduled to take. “They asked us about our family members, livelihoods, even where we had married off our daughters,” said a resident of Kotwali.

Courtsey- Telegraph

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