Did state's platinum jubilee event cause power failure?

As those in power went powerless, word got around from electricity officials that dry run for state legislature's 75th year celebration caused the outage

As the power failure in the areas around Mantralaya and Vidhan Bhavan, the abode of ministers and top bureaucrats, became a talking point for the entire day, a staffer from a minister's bungalow sought to know the cause for this seldom-seen aberration.

Powerful punch: Preparations are on in full swing for the grand
celebrations of the platinum jubilee of the Vidhan Sabha.
Pic/Satyajit Desai

He called up a BEST official who said, "The additional power being utilised for the preparation of the platinum jubilee celebrations at Vidhan Bhavan on October 18 had affected the supply."

It was a charge strongly refuted by officials of the state secretariat, but word did get around.

The gala marks the beginning of the platinum jubilee celebrations of the state legislature. The event today, where President Pratibha Patil will be the chief guest, is expected to be attended by Governor K Sankaranarayanan, CM Prithviraj Chavan, members of the Union and State cabinet and who's who of the political circuit. And preparations were reportedly in full swing yesterday.

No power
At least 10 bungalows opposite Mantralaya and a few offices of the state government were without power since Sunday afternoon for 13 hours. "It was perhaps the only time that ministers and officials -- who were at home, it being a Sunday -- did not like the holiday," quipped an official from Mantralaya, adding, "The people in power were powerless."

The phones at the power supply division of BEST kept ringing frantically. A frantic caller, the minister's staffer who sought to know the reason for the outage, slid into another frenzy when he was told that it was the rehearsals for the Vidhan Bhavan function scheduled for today that needed the additional power.

However, an official from the secretariat refuted the BEST claim by saying, "We are using power generator sets to meet the additional requirement. No additional power was used," he said defensively, requesting anonymity.

Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse had a harrowing time, as his official residence was without power.
Staffers at other ministers' bungalows struggled to get work done as all electronic equipment including computers, telephone EPABX system, ACs and TV sets remained non-functional.

Temporary power supply from the bungalow of Minister of State for Energy Rajendra Mulak was provided to nearby bungalows. Alas, it helped to operate only the ceiling fans, revealed a staffer at a minister's bungalow.
It was only in the late evening that the power supply of almost all the bungalows was restored with temporary connections from outside, said an engineer from the state PWD. "A cable that got damaged due to overdraw of electricity would need at least six days to be repaired," he said.

Except the metropolis, the entire state is going through unscheduled power cuts, which is inviting public ire. Incidents of violence against electricity officials were reported in the suburbs last week.

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