Around fifteen thousand residents of Rangamati’s Barkal and Jurachhari upazila have been suffering immensely without power supply for the last 13 days.
The outage has been disrupting day-to-day activities including services at hospitals and offices in the upazilas.
Sobuj Kanti Majumdar, executive engineer of Power Development Board (PDB) in Rangamati, said the power disruption was caused on July 6 morning when at least 50 electric poles in Kaptai upazila were damaged and 100 kilometres of power line breached in Bilaichhari and Jurachhari upazilas by landslides triggered by days of heavy downpour.
Electricity supply in Kaptai upazila was restored five days later and in Bilaichhari upazila on Wednesday night. They were now working on restoring power in Barkal and Jurachhari, he added.
Locals however said aside from disruption due to extreme natural calamities, five to six days of power outage in the upazilas of Rangamati are quite frequent after rain. Even after the power is restored, they face outage again within 10 to 15 minutes.
They also alleged that the local PDB staffers do not pay heed to their complaints.
Ashabrata Chakma, a resident of Jurachhari upazila, said power was resumed three times, only for 10 to 15 minutes each time, in the last ten days.
Due to the frequent power cuts, it has been difficult for them to sleep at night in severe heat, he said, adding that supply of water also stopped due to the power outage and they could not communicate with anyone as their phone batteries went dry.
Rasel Chakma, an eighth grader at Bhubonjoy Government High school, said students like him were also suffering as they could not study at night without electricity.
Sobuj Kanti, the PDB executive engineer, said it is difficult to maintain the network of electrical lines over hundreds of kilometres through remote hilly areas when each of Barkal, Jurachhari and Bilaichhari upazilas has only one temporary staffer (lineman) to maintain the lines.
He also said they were trying to restore electricity in Barkal and Jurachhari upazilas despite inadequate resources.