Youths to present lantern, hand fan to Odisha minister. Here’s why

Banki: A group of local youths set out on a bicycle rally today from Maa Charchika shrine in Banki to Bhubaneswar to present a lantern and a hand fan to Odisha Energy Minister Pratap Keshari Deb in protest against ‘undeclared power cut’ in the town of Cuttack district.

The youths are to meet the Minister at his official residence in the State Capital, a source said.

According to a youth taking part in the cycle rally, the group will meet at around 6.00 pm. “We will pedal a distance of around 60 kilometre in a bicycle rally led by a local social activist Ajaya Kumar Panda. This is an exceptional way for venting out our resentment to the minister concerned,” the youth said.

“Despite protesting for about three days in front of the electricity office here against the monopolistic and apathetic attitude of officials concerned, our demand was not heeded to. We had no other choice than to meet the minister, the agitating youth further said.

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Refuting power cut claims, Energy Minister Deb previously clarified before mediapersons that a power cut is a regulation of electricity supply whenever there is a scarcity of it. Any regulation of power requires the approval of Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC).

“There is no shortage of power in the State. However, supply interruptions occur in some places. This is due to an overload of distribution transformers leading to power trips. Sometimes in the summer heat, the insulators burst due to high voltage resulting in power supply disruption. These are local crises and take time to restore the power supply. This has nothing to do with power cut,” the minister had told.

Meanwhile, on reaching Bhubaneswar, the youths went to Deb’s residence but were stopped by security guards on duty at the minister’s residence and were not allowed to meet. Later, the youths threw hand fans at his residence, hung a lantern on its main gate, and staged Dharna in front of it.

The protest was underway till the filing of this report.

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