Acute power shortage sparks protests in Bihar


Patna : Acute power shortage has sparked protests in several places in Bihar since Wednesday with some people even holding officials of the Bihar State Electricity Board (BSEB) hostage for hours, assaulting them and ransacking the offices of the power utility.

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Hundreds of angry people were protesting in Lakhisarai district and at Bihta near Patna since Friday morning against the power shortage. They demanded regular power supply during the sweltering summer.

“People in Lakhisarai and at Bihta blocked roads and ransacked BSEB offices during protest,” police sources said.

People at Barauni in Begusarai Thursday held a BSEB engineer hostage for an hour.

Residents of Patna’s Hanumannagar held two BSEB officials hostage for several hours Wednesday.

“The BSEB officials and its offices have become a soft target of people’s anger against acute power shortages,” a BSEB official said.

Capital Patna is an exception but most small towns and district headquarters are hit badly due to power shortage.

Bihar Energy Minister Ramashray Prasad Singh told IANS that the acute power shortage has led people to protest violently in many parts of the state.

Singh said the central government was responsible for the situation in Bihar. “The central government is supplying a mere 800 to 850 MW against the state’s average daily quota of 1,646 MW,” he added.

In the absence of electricity and with the mercury soaring above 43 degrees Celsius in Patna and many other places, people are opting for traditional cooling tools like hand fans to beat the heat.

Electricity department official Hareram Pandey said Bihar faced a deficit of more than 1,000-1,200 MW of power a day.

“It is a hard fact that Bihar faces a serious power crisis due to shortage of supply from the central grid,” he said.

Pandey said Bihar produced 100-120 MW a day from its two thermal power units at Barauni in Begusarai and Kanti in Muzaffarpur district.