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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Farmers protest with dry paddy saplings in Electricity office

Malda, 16 April, 2014: Aggrieved with frequent power-cut that has been heavily affecting the agriculture, hundreds of farmers from 10 villages of Habibpur block today demonstrated in front of district office of West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (WBSEDCL) today. The farmers putting paddy saplings on the table even gheraoed the divisional manager of WBSEDCL in his office.

Secretary of Habibpur Krishi Unnayan Samity, an organization of peasants Subodh Roy said, “We the peasants of 11 gram panchayat areas in Habibpur block are the worst victims of exceptional duration of power-cut every day. For past two months situation has further worsened. We planted paddy saplings taking loan from banks. But those are getting dried up as we cannot provide adequate water. Shallow machines are not working for want of electricity. So, desperately we had to organize today’s movement.”
 
Unique agitation of farmers in Malda WBSEDCL office
A farmer from Mangalpura village Dhananjay Mardi said, “I loaned Rs 50,000 for cultivating paddy in my five bigha land. But those saplings are getting withered for want of water. Power-cut has destroyed our lives. Whenever we knock the officers and workers of Habibpur sub station, they conceded their helplessness.”

Hundreds of farmers from Jajoil, Aktail, Srirampur, Habibpur, Bulbulchandi, Mangalpura and other villages said that on one hand WBSEDCL officials were enjoying the comfort of air-conditioner and on the other hand the farmers were on the verge of doom.

Some WBSEDCL workers, however, blamed the departmental officials for the fault. “Senior officials never visit the rural areas. Everything is being managed by the contractors. There are only 6.3 mva transformers in Habibpur transmitting only 9 megawatt power. But now, there is want of at least 12 megawatt power,” one of those workers said.

WBSEDCL officials on condition of anonymity said that the gap between the actual demand of electricity and consumption was causing the problem. They blamed hooking and running on unauthorized shallow pumps too.

Divisional engineer Saibal Mazumdar however refused to comment. He said, “The matter would be conveyed to higher officials. They would comment in this regard.”

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