Hot topic during gram sabhas in the constituencies; Sarpanchs pass on the blame to the power dept, no action taken; Velim MLA claims electric lines to be replaced soon; Villagers concerned about further power outages during the monsoons
While the rest of Salcete has been suffering from frequent power outages, the residents of Velim constituency in particular have been troubled for over a year on this issue.
The power issue has incensed the locals so much so that this is a recurring issue at gram sabhas across the villages of Velim constituency in Chinchinim, Sarzora and Dramapur.
When the issue has been debated at these village panchayat forums, the sarpanchs usually pass on the blame to the power department and there have been resolutions passed to call the power department to the next gram sabhas to face the ire of the people.
“From December, we have had power outages every single day and the trouble is that they are unpredictable and once we lose electricity, it does not return for a few hours at least which puts our entire schedule out of gear,” said Rohan Viegas, a Chinchinim resident.
In Sarzora, residents have complained that the constant power fluctuations have created problems with their geysers for example or create tension for children who are preparing for their exams.
The core problem lies with existing power lines to the constituency that needed to be replaced and tenders for the same had been passed earlier with no takers. Then there was a question of the power department taking on the work themselves but the matter continued to get delayed.
Last Sunday, the Sirlim-Dramapur Panchayat gram sabha had passed a resolution condemning these constant delays from the power department. Villagers have also raised concerns as to if the issue will persist when the monsoons arrive where power fluctuations are very common when it rains.
Velim MLA, Benjamin Silva however, stated that all electric lines of Velim Constituency will be replaced shortly. He explained that the finance department and technical section cleared the files of the new revised rate bids for laying electrical lines in the constituency in six villages - Ambelim, Velim, Assolna, Chinchinim and Dramapur. For these villages, the tender is floated and work is expected to start shortly, whereas a separate tender will be issued for Sao Jose De Areal, informed Benjamin. He attributed the reasons for the delay to contractors hesitating to bid for the tender due to lower rates but that after having pursued the matter with the Chief Minister and Power Minister, the matter was resolved and that after the work is completed, all the problems regarding power failures would come to an end.