PATNA: A public-sector power generation company in Bihar’s Aurangabad district has succumbed to local villagers’ demands to get electricity directly from it without paying for it after the villagers protested snapping of supply for three days.
Bharatiya Rail Bijlee Company Limited (BRBCL), a thermal power plant at Nabinagar in Aurangabad that is a is 74:26 joint venture of the NTPC and Indian Railways, was persuaded by the Bihar government to provide power to the local villagers, said officials on Thursday.
Hundreds of villagers living near the power plant had been illegally using electricity from underground cables for over seven years. Heavy illegal tapping of power had caused a short circuit that snapped the main transmission cables on Friday, leaving the villages without electricity and sparking massive protests.
The agitated villagers laid seize to the BRBCL township, where about 100 families of the firm’s employees live, on Sunday and continued violent protests for the next three days. They pelted stones, burnt tyres at the main gate of the township and also cut supplies of essential commodities such as milk, vegetables and medicines by not allowing anyone to enter or exit the township.
“We (BRBCL) had been delaying the repair of the transmission cables in order to dissuade the villagers from using electricity illegally. But the protests went on and the state government wanted us to give the electricity to the local people till a systematic power distribution network was developed in the four villages,” said a senior BRBCL official.
Although BRBCL authorities had lodged an FIR, police allegedly paid little attention to drive away the protesting villagers. “Senior officials of SBPDCL (South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited) asked us to resume power supply to the four villages. The state government plans to develop the infrastructure in these villages in the next few months,” said the BRBCL official.