THREE WEEKS after Cyclone Tauktae battered the coast of Amreli, Gir Somnath and Bhavnagar districts, more than 100 villages are still without grid power even as officers of the state-owned Paschmi Gujarat Vij Company Limited (PGVCL), which distributes power in these areas claimed that all the villages have been re-electrified.
Local leaders in Jafarabad told The Indian Express on Tuesday that most of the 42 villages of Jafrabad taluka are still without power.
“PGVCL officers told us that they are going to attempt to recharge Rohisa feeder that supplies power to villages such as Vadhera, Balana, Kadiyali, Dholadri, Dudhala, Kerala and Chitrasar, at 9 pm today. But most of the villages are still waiting for power to be restored. In some places, work has been hampered due to locals objecting to changes in alignment of power lines during repair work and are not allowing poles to be erected,” said Naja Bambhaniya, husband of Jafrabad taluka panchayat president Manju Bambhaniya.
Rajula MLA Ambarish Der, whose constituency covers Rajula and Jafrabad talukas of Amreli district, said that almost three dozen villages were still without power. “Till yesterday, 36 villages out of 72 villages of Rajula taluka were without power,” Der said on Tuesday.
In Gir Somnath’s Una taluka adjoining Jafrabad, almost half of 80 villages, including Amodra, Kanakbara, Motha, Sultanpur and Sanjvapar, were without power.
“We are burning diesel worth Rs11,000 every day to supply drinking water to around 7,500 residents of Rohisa. Residents of the village are ready to help PGVCL in erecting poles but we need power at the earliest,” said Vijanand Vaghela, husband of Leela Vaghela, sarpanch of Rohisa village in Jafrabad taluka.
Gaurang Bambhaniya, a local journalist in Jafrabad said that around 20 per cent area of Jafrabad town was also waiting for power. “In the rest of the area, PGVCL is supplying power from 9 pm to 7 am. This is not enough. People, hospitals and hotels are suffering without continuous power supply,” said Bambhaniya.
In Vadhera village, around 5 km from Jafrabad town, residents are struggling with no power. “Whenever we dial local offices of PGCVL, they tell us that power will be restored in a couple of days. Residents of our village are dependent on batteries meant for electric fencing of agricultural fields and tractors to recharge mobile phones and illuminate houses for short duration,” said Kanabhai Vaghela, husband of village sarpanch Lakshmi Vaghela.
However, PGCVL managing director Shweta Teotia claimed that power had been restored to all the villages. “We have restored 100 per cent of our network. Some regular work on LT (low tension) lines is going on, which happens even without cyclone also… Otherwise, all essential services are working, all feeders are working… Our JGY (Jyotigram Yojana, the scheme to supply round-the-clock power to villages) is over. One JGY which is left is 11 KV Shiyal Bet feeder,” Teotia told The Indian Express.
When told that sarpanches of villages in Amreli district were complaining about the power having not been restored, the MD said, “Some work is going on on LT tap lines, which take power to the homes. But it is not all lines; very few. We have two villages in Jafrabad where villagers were objecting to the work.”
However, sources in PGVCL conceded that lots of work is pending. “That is obvious given the fact that power distribution infrastructure built over the past 45 years was destroyed almost entirely and we have the task of restoring it within a few days,” they said.
Boja Kotila, husband of Lunsapur village sarpanch Vasant Kotila, said power distribution lines in his village were yet be repaired. “They sent a team of workers yesterday and they re-erected 12 poles. But more than 50 are yet to be re-erected… They restored power today at the pumping station for our drinking water supply network,” said Kotila. Lunsapur is a village in Jafrabad taluka.