[ Junroi Mamai ]
CHANGLANG, 29 May: Changlang town, the headquarters of Changlang district, has been facing the problem of poor electricity supply for over a month now.
The problem began soon after a storm on 22 April destroyed a power distribution system along with the high-tension power line between Margherita (Assam) and the Margherita-Changlang road, besides the low-tension power lines in a few villages bordering Assam.
Power supply to Changlang township and its adjoining areas then remained cut off for a week. Thereafter, for several weeks, people received power supply for only seven to eight hours during the night. Power supply has since remained erratic in the district headquarters.
School and college students are the worst sufferers right now, as they have to attend online classes, while some have to sit for semester tests during this period.
“I was unable to attend a few of my online classes for days as there was no electricity during the morning hours because most of the time the phone network also remains cut off due to the power failure,” said a student.
A university student stated that she is worried about sitting for her upcoming semester exams. “I am worried now as my semester exams are next month. I always dread losing mobile network in the midst of my exam due to erratic power supply. Hope the power supply improves sooner,” she added.
Residents of the township informed that only the district hospital and a few colonies like the Officers’ Colony receive electricity during the day while other colonies have to remain without power supply for hours during the day.
“It is summer now. Such erratic power supply only adds to our suffering. We have inverters in our homes but they are useless if there’s no electricity for hours,” complained a resident.
When asked about the power crisis in the district headquarters, the officials of the electric department replied that the damage caused by the 22 April storm has been repaired but more damages occurred in other areas after another storm hit the power lines a couple of days back. This, they said, has resulted in the erratic power supply.
Basically, the district headquarters is fed power from two main sources: one is the 11 kv thermal-powered line coming from Margherita, and the other is the 33 kv NEEPCO line coming from Tirap district. Apart from these sources, there are a few micro hydel projects in the district headquarters, but most of them are either non-operational or in dire need of repair.
One of the officials of the electrical department informed that the hydel power station in Nadi Paar area, which supplies electricity to the district hospital and the Officers’ Colony, was not functional for around a month as it needed maintenance.
“Power supply was not regular in these areas too. No one received constant power supply,” said a power department official.
The district headquarters has been plagued with erratic power supply for many years, and it can be blamed on the decades-old, dilapidated power supply structures and distribution system. The high-tension power lines coming from Margherita had been established around 1975 and they are not enough to feed the growing power demand in the district headquarters. It needs early upgrading because the feeble power supply can hardly endure a day of heavy rain or a strong gale, and could snap off electricity supply to the entire Changlang township for days.