News

Scheduled lies on ad-hoc power cuts

By the end of last week, the people were hopeful that the power cuts that kept them in the dark for almost one-fourth of the day were finally going to come to an end, allowing them to resume their daily activities even among several other crises. However, this week, the authorities began power cuts again, going back on what they promised to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The President’s Media Division (PMD), on 2 March, stated that during a meeting between the President and the power sector authorities, the authorities had stated that they would stop power cuts with effect from 5 March, and that the President had instructed them to take the necessary steps to ensure an uninterrupted provision of power. However, from 6 March onwards, power cuts began again, and now, the authorities have resumed power cuts officially.

What changed the outcome of the President and the authorities’ discussion remains a mystery, as no official statement regarding such has been released, even though the authorities issued power cut schedules officially. However, the President has the powers and responsibility to inquire about the prevailing situation and give the public an explanation, which he owes, and be the leader that stands with the people in times of crises, which he claims he is.

Alarmingly, the resumption of power cuts, despite such plans put in place and promises made, is not really the only issue. The biggest issue is that the people cannot plan for the imminent power cuts, because they are kept in the dark about the durations and times of the power cuts. The power cut schedule has proven to be worthless and unhelpful in many cases, and the general public from all around the country who relied on it and were consequently inconvenienced bear witness to this.

Having to resort to daily power cuts is an indictment on the Government and power authorities. However, even if power cuts become inevitable due to a severe lack of resources to generate power, especially when there are countless other priority goods which require foreign exchange, there can be no excuse for the inability or unwillingness on the part of the authorities to follow the schedule that has been publicised. Such deviations can only be pinned on a complete lack of care for the convenience of the general public. The power cut schedule the authorities issued, which was meant to keep the public informed, is now beginning to look like a mere formality that was formulated for the sake of having a schedule, without any intention of following it. Speculation is rife that the authorities had a need to cut power for longer durations than the announced durations and so the schedules were a mere distraction to avoid informing people about the true situation about the generation of power. In a country where politicians and authorities deceive people openly and without shame, and hide the truth about matters that concern the people, even if such allegations were true, it would not be surprising.

The general public is presently inconvenienced economically more than they have been in any given time during the past few decades. The skyrocketing cost of living, the scarcity of most basic essentials, and rising black markets have already negatively affected the public’s daily lives and also the quality of life to a great extent. Adding to this, if they do not have an opportunity to at least be aware of exactly when the power cuts would take place, so that they can be ready for it and plan their day-to-day activities, the circumstances exemplify an extremely poor form of governance and public sector services.

The people who maintain the public sector and the politicians deserve to know that much at the very least. If this situation continues, soon, the people’s opposition will reach new levels, and it will lead to new crises.