Vote for Lights

The power situation in Nagaland refuses to improve. While this is nothing new for all of us, yet at the same time, the public should not remain a mute spectator anymore. If we want to see an improvement, it is also time for the public to raise some pertinent question to our politicians and the political parties and what they have to say on the chronic power deficiency faced by the State. It is one thing to make tall promises about development. But the voting public should also help and define what development ought to entail. Whether it is roads, electricity, health care or employment, all this must be made into an issue for the forthcoming assembly elections. After all, the State’s power situation or the condition of roads is in such a deplorable state and election time is an opportunity to raise such issues. It is for this reason that the so called development mantra of political parties must not be allowed to remain gauged in generalization and undefined but the voting public must insist on substantiating the slogan of development so as to also ensure accountability of the process and time bound results. 

With regard to availability of electricity, to state a few facts, of all the northeastern states, Nagaland is the worst-hit for the simple reason that almost all its power requirements are procured from outside the State. But ‘why’ this is so remains the moot point. As reported, Nagaland is the only State in the region which does not have a self-reliant power-generation station. On top of this the very fact that State governments even in the past did not seem to be in a position to respond appropriately only adds to the concern. Likewise, it has been informed that Nagaland registers the country’s highest percentage of commercial loss incurred in the power and electricity sector. The State is reported to be spending about Rs.73 Crores approximately in purchasing electricity. On the other hand, the State, incurs a gross loss of about Rs. 35 Crores yearly due to rampant power theft. Further, as a result of certain unscrupulous power consumers the State receives insufficient revenue return due to widespread power pilfering, putting pressure on power supply for which genuine power consumers suffer.

Besides the several reasons cited above for the sorry state of affairs with regard to the chronic power crisis, the other point is Nagaland does not have its own Thermal Power Plant (TPP) and so it is made to depend entirely on monsoons for its electricity generation. The question therefore is why a TPP is not yet a reality even after decades of Statehood. What does the Congress, NPF or all those who have ruled the State have to say about this? Maybe we must also question all the Ministers who have handled the Power Department so far and demand some answers on the pitiable condition of the power situation. With political parties in the State finalizing their respective poll manifestos, people deserve more than just development slogans. And a specific assurance for making a Thermal Power Plant fully functional as soon as possible should be demanded from the poll campaign. People should vote on issues and there is a strong case for people to vote for lights.