A well-known UNESCO world heritage site, Gharapuri Island, recognised for its popular Elephanta Caves in Maharashtra, has fallen into complete darkness for about a month now. The island, which is around 10 km away from the coast of Mumbai, has not received electricity since August 15 (Independence Day) and is now facing further issues with the failure of one of its 2 generators.
The twin generators provided by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) are responsible for the 3-hours power supply to 3 villages on the island every evening. As per residents, the generator with higher capacity has gone defunct and no heed has been paid into the matter by MTDC even after repeated requests.
Led by Ghararipuri sarpanch Baliram Thakur, the disgruntled villagers met the senior officials of MTDC. On this regard, the managing director of MTDC, Vijay Waghmare stated that “Our officials have been instructed to attend to the problem. I will look into the matter.”
The breakdown of a generator has put Rajbundar and Shetbundar villages sans electricity since October’s last week. The second generator provides electricity to the 3rd village, which is Morabundar village. A resident of Rajbandar said, “After protests, the authorities briefly diverted supply to Rajbundar and Shetbundar for a couple of hours. However, it is insufficient. We desperately need restoration of power from the bigger generator.”
Of about 1,200 residents of the three villages, 50% live out of the island for employment or education. Many are residing in Navi Mumbai and Uran for they are still studying. While some are staying at hostels or as paying guests due to the absence of power supply. The 2 generators set up by MTDC are the lifeline of the villagers here.
However, MSEDCL has finally begun placing a special cable wire on the seabed to provide power to the entire island. This step has been taken after numerous demands from villagers.