METTUPALAYAM: We are often annoyed when the power connection at home goes on and off even if it's just for short breaks. But here, people have been struggling for a decade to get a basic power connection.
They have even had dreams about the day when their homes will be lit not with lanterns but by lamps.
Residents of Venmani Nagar near Mettupalayam have finally received electricity connection after a struggle that spanned ten long years.
In 2010, 95 families from Coimbatore and Nilgiris districts that were homeless, were given Panchami land at Venmani Nagar that falls under the Bellathi panchayat.
Initially, they were not provided patta for their land and when they eventually did, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) officials cited numerous difficulties in providing them with power.
But their saviour came in the form of an assistant engineer from the TANGEDCO.
D Ramachandran from the village, said, "Venmani Nagar is located 2.5 km from Mettupalayam-Annur road. When we settled here ten years back, there were 95 families.
Within three years 30 of them vacated due to lack of basic amenities. We were not provided with electricity connection because the TANGEDCO said they will provide it only for families living in patta lands."
"Three years ago, we received patta from the district administration. But when we approached the TANGEDCO, they said there was no road that leads to our village.
But six months ago, we met TANGEDCO Assistant Engineer (AE) N Kamaraj. He inspected our place and provided us with power connection after a lot of struggle," said P Senthil Kumar, another resident from the village.
Speaking to TNIE, N Kamaraj said, "While we inspected Venmani Nagar, we found that there was no proper road leading to the village. Thus, we decided to make use of private lands. That did not work out as landowners opposed it.
We later took the issue to Bellathi panchayat officials and requested that they lay a road and immediately a road was laid. We set up nearly 50 electric poles along the 2.5 km stretch and brought the elusive electricity connection to the villagers. My senior officials were of immense help in getting this work done."
"We have set up more than 30 street lamps and provided electricity connection to 33 homes. The rest will receive their connection at the earliest," he added.
R Deepa, a homemaker, recalled escaping a dire situation in the past. "When I was pregnant, a snake entered my house. We could not find where it hid because we only had lanterns.
We slept at my uncle's place. The following morning, we captured the snake inside the house," she said.
On the other hand, S Jothi said that with the arrival of electricity, her dreams will also come true now.
"We had no entertainment earlier, apart from the radio. I had the dream of watching television at my house but nearly gave up on it due to lack of action for these many years. Now we have power supply and my dream is also alive."
However, V Sharmila, a class VII student, is still among those who do not have power supply.
"We did not get power connection at our house. I have been studying at my neighbour's place, under the street light or by using a lantern. My friends and I used to study only until 6 pm until now. But with electricity connection, our study time has increased by up to two hours," she said.