By P.T. Bopanna
The feedback I have received is that while Virajpet MLA A.S. Ponnanna (in picture) is responsive in attending to the complaints of the public, he has failed to pay the much needed attention to the power supply problem in Kodagu district.
I consider that power supply is the most critical problem facing the hill district. While there is low voltage during summer when irrigation has to be done to coffee plants, there will be blackouts for weeks in monsoon.
The main reason why Kodagu is facing chronic power supply issues is because previous politicians and district administrations have failed in setting up and improving the transmission network.
Politicians from neighbouring districts lobby to get power to their people and whatever is remaining, is being supplied to the tail-enders living in Kodagu.
The leaders sitting in Vidhana Soudha at Bengaluru do not care that Kodagu had to pay heavy price for the high tension wires to supply power to Kerala which led to the felling of 50,000 trees.
The power supply situation in Kodagu (Coorg) district in Karnataka is pathetic because the Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation (CESC) has utterly failed to manage power supply in the district.
Personally, I am familiar with the power sector because prior to joining journalism, I was employed with Tata Power in the construction of India’s first 500 MW thermal station at Trombay in Mumbai.
With my experience, I feel the top priority of Ponnanna should be setting up an exclusive Maintenance Cum Projects Circle in Kodagu for maintaining continuity of quality power to all corners of the district.
Even Rathan Kilar, a retired superintending Engineer (Electrical), KPTCL, with whom I am in constant touch to discuss the power situation in the district, is also of the same view that Kodagu needs an exclusive maintenance circle.
Rathan has informed that Vivekanada Ponnappa heading Gonikoppal subdivision, is an efficient officer. We need more such people in the power distribution network.
I am also in touch with Pattada Nanjappa of Betoli village who has been taking active interest in improving the power situation in Kodagu. According to him, there is a serious shortage of linemen in the district.
Since this is election season, government will be liberal in releasing funds. Ponnanna, who has good rapport with chief minister Siddaramaiah should take the opportunity to get funds for improving transmission system in Kodagu.
One serious drawback I have found in Ponnanna is that he does not address press conferences to update the media on the work being undertaken by him. In this he should not follow the Modi example of not addressing press conferences, but follow his chief minister who always interacts with the press.