Nagpur, July 6 (IANS) Following a torrential downpour on Friday, the state’s second capital was virtually inundated and the Maharashtra Legislature, which was in session, was plunged into darkness, forcing an adjournment till Monday.
Power was cut off to the legislature building as a precautionary measure after the transformer room was inundated in water, and most parts of the city also remained without electricity as around three feet water accumulated in many areas of the Orange City.
This is the first time in the state’s legislative history that a power blackout was witnessed in an ongoing session, especially since the monsoon session was held in Nagpur for only the third time since 1961 and last in 1971 after the state’s formation in 1960.
Traditionally, the monsoon session is held in Mumbai but his year the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party shifted it to Nagpur as the MLA Hostel in Nariman Point is going to be redeveloped.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who hails from Nagpur, came under fire from both the opposition and ruling ally Shiv Sena for the developments which have necessitated a holiday in all educational institutions on Saturday.
“This is the first time in the state history that a legislative session is adjourned due to lack of electricity,” said Leader of Opposition in the Council, Dhananjay Munde.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader said this displayed the government’s complete lack of planning and is the result of its “immature insistence” on having the session in Nagpur this time without making the basic arrangements and despite opposition from many quarters.
The proceedings had started as usual at 10 a.m. though in darkness, with some opposition legislators holding up mobile torches and a few even lighting candles in their offices with many legislators wading in ankle-deep water in the legislature building complex.
Shiv Sena attacked the BJP-ruled Nagpur Municipal Corporation with senior legislator Pratap Sarnaik saying that in Mumbai, the legislature session was never adjourned due to a blackout.
“Everybody targets the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (ruled by Shiv Sena) which is doing a good job. Now, who will the government criticize?” Sarnaik asked sarcastically.
However, defending the move, Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule claimed that power supply to the legislature building was not hit, but the authorities had voluntarily switched off electricity as water gushed into the generator room.
Elsewhere, in many lowlying areas, people were seen struggling in three-four-feet water, while many vehicles stranded on the roads even as incessant rains continued most of the day.
At the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Nagpur International Airport, there were at least 16 flight delays – nine departures and seven arrivals of various airlines this evening.
Leading consumer activist and National President of Grahak Sewa Bharti, Vandana Shrikant Tiwari demanded a CBI probe into the functioning of the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd. which has snapped off power supply to most parts of city due to waterlogging.
“Owing to the blatant corruption in the MSEDCL’s work of laying underground cables without adhering to prescribed international norms that Nagpur is experiencing such a dire situation for the first time and millions of citizens are hit,” Tiwari told IANS.
Besides Nagpur, heavy rains have been witnessed in the entire Vidarbha region of eastern Maharashtra since the past two days, severely dislocating normal life and transport.