GUWAHATI, Sept 7 - The State government has taken a number of steps to bring about reforms in the power sector, including making officers and staff of electricity companies more accountable, making safety measures mandatory and using better quality products. This was stated by Power Minister Pallab Lochan Das in the Legislative Assembly today.
Replying to a call attention motion by AIUDF MLA Mamun Imdadul Haque Chawdhury, the Minister said the number of electricity consumer households in Assam has increased from a mere 9 lakh in 2011 to over 41 lakh now.
He added that the power supply network with regard to circuit kilometre expansion of power lines has also increased substantially during this period.
�However, while the number of consumers and circuit has expanded, our manpower has declined substantially from around 24,000-25,000 a few years ago to 13,360 now,� Das said.
With regard to deaths due to electrocution which have captured headlines in the State during recent times, Das said that while such incidents have indeed happened, they are not exclusive to Assam. He cited government data to state that in 2015 there were 35 deaths due to electrocution in Assam, as compared to 484 in Chhattisgarh, 1,545 in Madhya Pradesh, 1,361 in Maharashtra and 651 in Tamil Nadu.
Das said that the previous Congress government failed to undertake major reforms in the power sector. He said the types of conductor used since 2005-06 were not suitable for the climatic condition of Assam. �So from now on all conductors will have Aerial Bunched Cables (ABC) so that they do not snap,� he said.
The Minister said that as part of the effort towards strengthening the safety element, the government has decided that from now on power will not be supplied to areas where people use bamboo poles to draw electricity.
�In Assam, there are around 20,000 bamboo poles used to support the power lines. Those will be withdrawn. In addition, citizens� committees will be formed in all 158 sub-divisions with local elected representatives, officials and citizens, which will recommend the kind of work to be undertaken,� said Das.
He called upon the MLAs to help the government in its effort to check power theft and increase revenue and added that while power is available, the problem lies in its transmission and loss of revenue due to thefts. He added that a separate dress code for APDCL staff is being mooted and plans are also afoot to hire more technical as well as non-technical personnel.
Earlier, raising the issue Haque Chawdhury cited media reports to paint a dismal picture of the power department. He said despite receiving Rs 3,664 crore from the Centre since 2002 for the power sector, the State government has failed to achieve anything substantial.