How serious is the electricity problem faced by you?
It was very serious earlier since the government was directly dealing with power production and distribution. I think, it was privatized by the year 2000. The situation has improved but there remains lot to be done even now.
In what ways has the electricity situation improved today?
There was not much difference for the first two years, but the situation began gradually improving after that. The problem existed because of illegal electricity connection. The situation has improved since then. They disconnected illegal connection put some new cables and also made underground transmission.
How worse was the situation earlier and how much better is it today?
Earlier, we used to remain without electricity for up to 6, 7 or even 10 hours. I remember at times we used to be without electricity for even up to a week. Today, the problem is not as serious. Although electricity outage is still there, it is not for more than 1 to 3 hours on average per day.
Your shop is in Ghaziabad, a satellite city of Delhi. Do you think the outage is worse than Delhi here?
Here the electricity problem has been pathetic because the state government is responsible for electricity here. It has not been unusual here for more than 10 hours of outage here on average. The situation has thankfully improved since last year. This year electricity situation has improved here with not more than 2 to 3 hours of outage during the time I remain at the shop. I don’t know about the night time. But during the summer, the outage is for much longer duration.
How has electricity outage affected your work?
You cannot do anything without electricity. Weather is also harsh almost eight months of the year when you need electricity to work efficiently.
How do you cope up with the outage?
I have got an inverter, but quite often it fails to cope up.
Has electricity outage affected your income?
Yes, sometimes I am forced to pull down my shutter because it becomes unbearable to stay in the shop without electricity.
How is the power situation in Kerala?
Oh, it is much better out there. In 1978, the government of Kerala, completed a major hydro-electricity project. It is the biggest hydro project in Asia. It is dependent on rain and as of now I came to know that half of the reservoir is empty. Nonetheless, power is available 24 hours in Kerala. Or, if there’s power outage, it is not for more than half an hour.
Who do you think is responsible for electricity woes in the North?
Government is not doing their job. In the states of the North, the governments are responsible.
Do you feel angry about it?
They are taking wrong decisions. There is the law and order problem. There is problem in education sector. There was this news that the chief minister of this state (U.P) was offering luxurious cars costing INR 20 to 25 lakhs (US $50,000) to every legislator out of public exchequer (Note: The U.P government was forced to withdraw this decision against severe media and public reaction).