Power politics renders borewells powerless

Power politics renders borewells powerless

MLAs busy hunting for berths even as 1,800 borewells await electricity supply

Power politics renders borewells powerless

The politics of power that the State has been witnessing in the last weeks seems to have rendered hundreds of borewells meant for quenching the thirst of drought-affected people useless.

Consider this: Of the total 4,610 borewells drilled in the drought-affected places across the State in 2012-13, only about 2,810 are electrified and  operationalised. The rest of about 1,800 borewells are lying idle for want of power connection, according to the latest statistics compiled by the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) department.

Reason: Electrification process is stuck in some technicalities and the area legislators were too busy to spare time to clear the hurdle. The result is that the aggrieved people continue to suffer without water supply, though, on record, the borewells have been sunk.

With 123 taluks of total 176 declared drought-affected and the monsoon rains on the verge of being a failure, drinking water has become a scare. The government has authorised district administrations to sanction borewells as recommended by the local MLA-headed task force.

Though sufficient numbers of borewells have been drilled, large number of them is yet to be operationalised due to lack of power connection. And unless the local MLA takes interest and does a proper follow up, electrification gets delayed. This is because the process is cumbersome and requires sanctions at various levels, official sources said.

After drilling a borewell, the zilla panchayat engineers prepare estimation for electrification and submit an application with the local electricity supply company (Escom) for electrification along with the deposit amount.

Then, the Escom engineers too prepare their own estimation, get the necessary sanctions and provide power connection. The process is so unwieldy that problems are bound to arise, and the MLAs’ intervention is a must to hasten it, officials explained.

Due to frequent political turmoil in the State, many legislators, especially those belonging to the ruling party, could not attend to the problem. Hence, electrification work in a large number of assembly constituencies is incomplete.

When Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar held a review meeting with deputy commissioners and chief executive officers of zilla panchayats through video conferencing, the problem of delay in electrification of borewells poured in from almost all districts.

In some cases like in Chamarajnagar, borewells drilled a year ago are yet to be energised. And reasons given by officials were contradictory. While the ZP CEO said there was not adequate supply of materials from the Escom, the Gescom managing director sitting in Mysore contested it saying that all required materials have been supplied long ago.

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