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NTPC staff, kin ‘held hostage’ by villagers in Bihar’s Aurangabad over power supply

Around 200 villagers from Surar, Salya, Khaira and Gogara Bandh blocked the township entrance, cutting civil and medical supplies to NTPC staff and their family members on Sunday.

patna Updated: Sep 10, 2018 14:44 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Ruchir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
bihar,NTPC,aurangabad
Villagers block the BRBCL township in Aurangabad, Bihar, over disrupted power supply on Sunday, September 9, 2018.(Ajay Kumar Choubey / HT Photo )

Tension gripped the Bharatiya Rail Bijlee Company Limited (BRBCL) township area in Aurangabad on Sunday as around 700 people, mostly employees of the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), a Central public sector undertaking, and their family members were held hostage by villagers over disruption of power supply for the last couple of days.

The villagers claimed that the BRBCL had disconnected power supply to villages, plunging them into darkness for the last four days. The 1000 MW NTPC plant is a joint venture with the Railways.

In order to lodge their protest, around 200 villagers from Surar, Salya, Khaira and Gogara Bandh blocked the township entrance, cutting civil and medical supplies to NTPC staff and their family members on Sunday.

A senior BRBCL functionary, however, said at least half a kilometre of its underground and overhead power cables and connecting multi-circuit breakers (MCB) were burnt due to overloading, as villagers had been pilfering power from the township for the last seven years.

The officer said that the NTPC or the BRBCL was under no obligation to provide free power supply to the villages directly. It was a call the government had to take, he added.

The villagers, however, failed to see reason and were adamant that the BRBCL restore power supply to the villages by undertaking repairs of the damaged cables and MCB.

“The villagers were pilfering power from the BRBCL township that is grossly illegal. The electricity produced by BRBCL is meant for internal use only. As per the electricity Act, we cannot supply power to any entity other than the national power grid and the contracted dedicated user,” said Vishwanath Chandan, manager, public relations, NTPC.

Talks between the local administration and villagers had failed on Sunday evening, added Chandan.

Additional district magistrate Anurag Narayan Singh, who was officiating in absence of Aurangabad district magistrate Rahul Ranjan Mahiwal, could not provide details when HT reporter called him for comments at 7.30pm on Sunday.

“I have sent my sub-divisional officer and the sub-divisional police officer to the spot and am waiting for them to brief me about the situation there,” he said.

First Published: Sep 10, 2018 14:44 IST