JAGATSINGHPUR: Many villages in the district are reeling under darkness due to theft of transformers while the electricity department is battling an outbreak of coronavirus among its staff. Taking advantage of the Covid-19 lockdown, thieves managed to steal transformers from remote villages of Biridi, Erasama and Raghunathpur.
While it has been nearly a month since the transformers were stolen, steps are yet to be taken to restore power in these areas as the office of Paradip electricity division remains closed after five employees tested positive for Covid-19 and another died due to the virus.
Parapara village under Chatua panchayat in Erasama block is in dark since the last one month after thieves took away the transformer. Even as 80 families including 50 school children have been affected due to the theft, Kujang police is yet to recover the stolen transformer.
Ganesh Rout, a villager, said, “We had approached local MLA and Water Resources Minister Raghunanadan Das and executive engineer of Paradip electrical division in this regard but no steps have been taken to restore power in our village. It is surprising that the thieves managed to disconnect the high transmission line to steal the transformer. A gang of trained burglars is involved in the theft.”
Another villager Pitabas Sarangi said many school children are suffering due to lack of electricity as their online classes have been affected. The students are going to neighbouring villages to charge their cellphones.
Sarpanch of Chatua Sujata Sethy said the delay in installation of a transformer in the village was due to the spread of coronavirus in the electricity office. “Many officials of Paradip electricity division are undergoing treatment for Covid-19 while some are in home isolation,” she added.
Apart from Chatua, there have been reports of transformer theft in Hajipur, Kharmanga, Chasikhand and Satapura villages of Biridi block during the lockdown. Not a single transformer has been recovered by the police yet.
Sources said farmers of Naugaon and Balikuda have been affected after transformers became defunct due to entry of floodwater. They are unable to operate lift irrigation points due to defunct transformers as a result of which agricultural activities have come to standstill.
Farmers of Nayasangada of Osakana panchayat in Naugaon block said the electricity department has installed transformers on Devi river bed which became defunct after being submerged in the recent floods.
Assistant engineer of Raghunathpur electrical sub-division Biswaranjan Deuri said thieves have stolen 16 transformers from Biridi and one from Raghunathpur. Till now, police are yet to recover a single transformer and bust the gang involved in the theft. “However, we are supplying power to the affected areas from neighbouring villages,” he added.