Mr CM: Appeal works more than order
A few years back, a senior journalist had done a story on ‘riots in Uttar Pradesh over power shortage’. Many of us had laughed at the report as UP had only witnessed communal riots so far. But it appears his words are coming true now.
People are clashing over water and power, the two bare necessities without which life becomes a hell.
Recently, the Uttar Pradesh government decided to close malls at 7pm and restaurants at 10pm. It created such an uproar, both in the state assembly and on the streets, that the order had to be withdrawn within 24 hours. The traders and the public had their own arguments as much of shopping or outings are taken up late in the evenings, especially during school holidays.
There has been so much discussion on transparency, participatory governance and politics in the country. Why then the political parties or people are not roped in taking decisions that affect the public instantly.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has a call centre. May be suggestions could have been sought from the public. The babus don’t have answers to their own created mess on many a fronts including power. We learn large scale transfers have been done in the power department during the peak season. How would the power staff bogged down with shifting places be worried about the management of power.
Perhaps the government would have done better by making an appeal instead of issuing a bureaucratic diktat. I am sure the public would have reacted differently had they known or understood the problem faced by the state.
I remember as a kid we had milk with gur. I also remember as kid we had simple meals at the weddings, where there was a limit on the guest list too. My father had then told me there is food crisis and all of us have to help the nation overcome that. As a kid I understood what I don’t want to understand today as a grown-up person only because the state doesn’t believe in involving the public in crisis management. They only issue orders which people resent as they link it with poor performance.
Governments have been blaming successive governments for power paucity. But from where would the state supply power when the demand has gone up, not the supplies. We don’t have to look anywhere else than our own homes to know that. It used to be one air-conditioner few years. Now every room has once. It used to be one television in the lobby. Now every room has one.
Switching off air-conditioners in government buildings and malls or cut their excessive use may help temporarily. There is no harm if Mayawati’s parks and memorials remain in darkness for some weeks. But the state needs a permanent solution and that is increasing the availability of power by setting up new power units, which the Mayawati government had initiated and Akhilesh had judiciously decided to keep rolling and not roll back because of political differences.
If we want uninterrupted power supply like in Mumbai, then private players will have to come in. We also have to be prepared that power will be expensive and not cheaper. The power employees, who often throw gauntlet in government moves to hand over power generation in the private hands, will have to shut their shops as long as they, the employees, don’t suffer.
As it looks, the power situation is unlikely to improve in 2013 as there will be no additional generation. Hopefully there will be better power management. The issue is not why Kannauj, Etawah and Mainpuri are getting 24-hour power supply. The issue is when the entire state will get power supply round the clock.