To understand in simpler terms, the non-availability of electricity in Bihar revolves around the following problems:
- Sufficient generation of electricity in Bihar itself.
- Dependence on supply of electricity from the centre or elsewhere.
- Inability of the state government or the electricity board to stop power pilferage or theft.
- Unwillingness on the part of the consumers to pay honestly and regularly for the electricity they consume.
- Failure of the relevant government departments and the law enforcing agencies to collect outstanding bills from the defaulters.
- Absence of speedy judicial process whereby the defaulters, corrupt officials and racketeers in power theft could be brought to justice or, in case of a dispute quick settlements could be arrived at.
Given the last five years of seriousness shown by the state government -- on the basis of which the JD(U) - BJP were re-elected to power -- none of the problems stated above is unachievable. I'm sure, Nitishji, being an engineer himself, must be aware of these problems. He must be constantly reminded of the trust the people of Bihar have reposed in his administration.
All I can say is that since the late 1960's or early 1970's, cities of Bihar have not experienced a regular supply of electricity, leave aside the rural areas. I can vouch for Darbhanga. There is no denying that the demand has increased many times over, but corruption on the part of the consumers and the (government) electricity providers has been at the root of Bihar staying in the dark.
Certain steps be taken expeditiously:
- Distribution of electricity and collection of bills in major cities be handed over to private companies who will win the bid on a competitive basis. This process must be insulated against political interference or corruption.
- The government and its arms must ensure that there is no breach of agreement anywhere, that means the companies will not indulge in profiteering or any unfair means; and the consumers will make payments on time or face the consequence.
- Also, if the supply outstrips the demand (which, of course, is the case), there is no harm in introducing 'ration system': What it means is that the consumers would know the exact time when they will and will not receive power-supply. Let absence of supply be shared by all.
In this day and age of Information and Globalization -- when the world has shrunk to the size of a village -- electricity, by any means, is like oxygen to a living being. Therefore, non-supply of electricity is tantamount to a crime against humanity. We can never imagine Bihar forging ahead, if we let our people languish in the dark. Providing electricity to meet the minimum needs of the Biharis be the guiding resolution of just-celebrated Bihar Diwas.