WHILE THE Chandigarh administration boasts of the UT’s ‘smart city’ status, a transformer fault that occurred in Sector 44 Wednesday brought the power department to its knees. While it took around 17 hours to fix the problem, there was severe fluctuation even after power was restored. Soon after power came back, an air-conditioner exploded in the sector Thursday morning. The occupant of the house was fortunately away at work when the incident took place.
Obsolete machinery, old wiring and a sluggish approach to deal with a power fault earned the department the residents’ wrath as they stayed without power for hours.
While calls made by residents to electricity officials went mostly unanswered, superintending engineer of the power department Ranjit Singh responded after seven calls and three messages to this newspaper, saying, “The fault was rectified. I don’t think there should be any problem now.” Asked why there was no provision of portable transformers — a stop gap arrangement often provided to VIPs — the SE disconnected the call.
Asked why no efforts were being made to replace the old wiring or respond to residents’ calls, executive engineer Deepak Bansal from the power department too disconnected the call.
Meenu, whose AC exploded, told Chandigarh Newsline, “Thankfully I wasn’t at home. Who is to be held responsible for the financial loss? It will cost me a lot. When I came home, I saw people standing outside my house as they noticed smoke coming out of it.”
Bindu Kumari, another local resident, said that her mother is a heart patient and she gets really uncomfortable when there is no power for long hours. “How can they call the city a smart city when they can’t give basic amenities like power?” she asked.
Baljinder Singh, chairman of the Federation of Sectors Welfare Association of Chandigarh, said, “Have the senior officers ever checked the working of the power department? Have they ever seen the infrastructure they have and how they deal with power-related complaints? Only because these officers get uninterrupted power supply they don’t even think of how difficult it is to bear the heat.”
“Summer is at its peak, there are heart patients and elderly who literally gasp for breath when there is no power. Why can’t they be sensitive towards the problem of a common man? Do we have to move court even for such small issues to be set right?” he asked.