The opposition parties in Odhisa, including the BJP and the Congress, on Wednesday slammed the Biju Janata Dal (BJD)-led government over the frequent power cuts in different parts of the state during the peak summer season.
The state BJP launched a two-day protest in front of the offices of Tata Power at different places, while the Congress said that it will gherao the GRIDCO office on June 19 to protest against the erratic power supply.
The BJP leaders and workers staged protests before the offices of Tata Power in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and other cities. The protests will continue on Thursday as well.
“The state government claims that Odisha is a power-surplus state. Then why is the power not reaching the people? Who is consuming the power,” asked a protesting BJP worker.
BJP state general secretary Prithiviraj Harichandan said that people are facing a lot of difficulties due to the frequent power cuts, as the government has no control over the power distribution system.
“We are holding protests to raise the voice of the people against the government and Tata Power over frequent power cuts across Odisha. Tata Power should also face the public ire for the power disruptions,” he said.
Meanwhile, to counter BJP’s protest, the ruling-BJD also staged protest demonstrations before the Raj Bhawan over hike in LPG cylinder price.
BJD leaders and activists also submitted a memorandum to the President of India through the Governor demanding immediate reduction in LPG price.
BJD leader Srimayee Mishra said that the price of a domestic gas cylinder was Rs 410 in 2014, which has gone up to Rs 1,130 now, thus impacting household budgets significantly.
Similarly, the Ujwala scheme has become a dark scheme as the beneficiaries are unable to refill their cylinders, Mishra said.
“The poor women are going back to using wooden chulha. The BJD will continue to protest the hike in gas prices if the Center does not reduce the same immediately,” Mishra added.
On BJD’s counter protest, Harichandan said, “By holding protest against LPG price hike, the ruling BJD proved that it is protecting Tata Power and no one can point fingers at the company even though it exploits people.”
Meanwhile, the President of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC), Sarat Pattanayak, alleged that the state government is exploiting the people with high power tariff and frequent disruptions in electricity supply.
He said that Rs 20,000 crore was allotted by the Centre and state for power infrastructure development in Odisha. However, a total amount of Rs 5,000 crore was given to Tata Power and no one knows about the remaining Rs 15,000 crore, Pattanayak claimed.
The Congress leader demanded the state government to publish a white paper on the issue, giving details about the amount provided and utilised for the development of the power sector.