Election work takes a hit as power cuts plague Andhra Pradesh

Since it is election time, the Chief Secretary’s office has seen hectic activity over the last few days.

Hyderabad: It was a hot and humid Tuesday in Vijayawada as candidates and their followers slugged it out in the heat and dust of elections. But inside this swanky camp office-cum-residence, whose occupant was super busy with election related work, it was not business as usual and heat of the physical not political kind was getting unbearable.

While it is normally the “aam aadmi” who faces issues of ‘bijli, sadak and paani’, on Tuesday it was the turn of Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary A.C. Punetha to experience almost a full day of continuous power disruptions. The irate official took to task top Transco officials for their “unprofessionalism”, an option the rest of us do not have.

His power woes finally came to an end by evening when continuous power supply was restored. The morning began on a routine note with this top government functionary keeping himself abreast of minute by minute political developments on his flat screen TV and exchanging telephone calls. But as the day progressed, electricity began playing hide-and-seek with the top babu.

“Electricity was going and coming every few minutes. In fact, for a few hours, it became worse as power was there for a minute and the next moment there was no power. Fax machines, photo copiers, air conditioners — all were badly affected. There was some technical problem that might be resolved soon but that was not to be. The situation remained like this till evening and by then a lot of official work was affected,” a source close to the Chief Secretary told this newspaper. The standby generator was apparently not operational.

Since it is election time, the Chief Secretary’s office has seen hectic activity over the last few days. Sources said that the power interruptions throughout the day exasperated Mr Punetha and in the evening, around 6.30 pm, he blasted a senior Transco official over the telephone.

“This is not a professional way of dealing with the situation. From morning, I’m sitting in the camp office and electricity is going and coming every few minutes. If there is a problem, why can’t you get it repaired and restore power supply? Every few minutes, it is going and coming. In the last two minutes, it has gone 10 times,” an angry Chief Secretary told a Transco official, who then began apologising to him and informed him about a technical glitch.

This did not pacify Mr Punetha. He continued to blast the official saying: “We are busy in election work here and this is the situation of electricity supply? How are we supposed to work like this? Tell the engineer and get it sorted out immediately. I must tell you that this is not the professional way of doing things.”

When contacted, Mr Punetha acknowledged that there was a problem with the electricity supply.

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