For four days, there was no electricity at Noida resident Indrajeet Singh’s house. The linesman refused to fix the underground cables, complaining that it was too much work. Instead, Singh claimed, the linesman suggested that power supply to his house could only be restored through a new overhead connection.
Singh then complained to the contractor who supervised the linesman’s work. The response was the same: the underground power lines cannot be fixed.
When the junior engineer concerned too refused to help, Singh then complained to the chief minister on Twitter, hoping that it just might work. And, it did.
“We were without electricity for four days and after verbal complaints yielded no results, I lodged a formal complaint on Monday,” Singh said over phone.
A linesman was then sent to look into the complaint. “As all our power lines are underground, the linesman initially asked for Rs 500 for the repairs. I agreed. But then, he complained that it was too much work and said he would arrange for an overhead connection instead,” Singh alleged.
“But since we don’t have overhead power cables here, I told him that neighbours could object. The linesman, however, started arguing and refused to fix the line,” Singh claimed.
“I then met the junior engineer (JE) at the sub-station,” Singh said. “I told him that I would complain against the contractor and the linesman, but he too said power supply to my house could not be restored,” Singh alleged.
On Tuesday evening, a frustrated Singh addressed a barrage of Tweets to the official accounts of the CM office and the Uttar Pradesh government, such as “@CMOfficeUP @yadavakhilesh Paschimanchal Vidyut JE at Noida sector 52 is asking for bribe and challenging that he can do whatever he want (sic)”.
Unusually at 8.04 pm, @UPGovt replied, “@ijeetsindu @CMOfficeUP what’s your contact number?”. The matter was subsequently taken up with the Noida DM. Apart from a call from the DM, Singh also received calls from the SDO and officials of the Paschimanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd. Around 11 pm, Singh’s connection was restored.
The JE has been “removed” and an inquiry ordered. “We are also examining the private contractor’s role,” Arvind Rajvedi, superintending engineer at the Electricity Urban Distribution Circle, Noida, said.
“There are other officials in the chain such as the SDO and the executive engineer and had the matter been brought to them, it would have been dealt internally,” he said, adding that overhead wiring does exists in parts of Noida.