For common people like you & me; its only by playing the waiting game.

Couple of years back when i put in an application for electricity connection, the engineer in charge of the taluka came immediately with me to do a site survey. He sat there looking at the distance from where the cables has to be pulled & how many poles is to be required etc. He said we require 5 poles etc, etc.

So i asked him when will we start work ? He said my application will be processed…. it will go to Pune office & it has to be approved from there etc. I asked again: So how long will this take ? He says it will take about 3 months & there is still no guarantee whether the MSEDCL will give new connections. I said ok, we will see etc etc.

Just when he was going he said : if you give me One lakh (Rs 1,00,000/-) i can expedite your application & start the work immediately. I looked through him & the F word was almost out of my mouth. (In the first place; do i look like a person who can have that much money in hand… I asked for a reference number of my application… he said he will give it to me later. So that was the end of the story.

Prakash, my co-worker on the farm said now lets take an illegal connection, who the hell is going to come here & check & even if anyone comes we will handle them. But we had good solar lamps, we also got a solar pump to lift the water from the river etc, so grid power was not so critical.

In between the village Sarpanch had also got into the act & told me he will do the needful for us to get electricity connection….. i said ok, then one day he came over & said the engineer wants a bribe. I’ve had enough of this, so i took out my wallet from my pocket & threw it at him & told him to take whatever he wants & walked out. Prakash who was witness to it, quietly took the wallet & gave it back to me & the Sarpanch made a sheepish & a quite exit.

Last March when we started construction of our cottage again we needed grid power, for drilling, cutting stones etc, also by then water in the river dried up, so we tried to get our bore well working etc.

Around the same time i came to know that the rogue engineer was transferred & a new guy has come. I put in a fresh application, within two days i got my reference number & i was geared to follow-up in Pune & also in a worse case scenario was prepared to file an RTI. Then one day i bumped into a linesman & he told me if i buy the required amount of cable he will come & do the connection for me & we will use bamboo poles for support…. i said ok. So one day in last May he came & gave us officially grid power on our land.

He did not ask for any bribe, but i paid him Rs 500/- for his services.

Then two weeks back Prakash told me that MSEDCL poles have come to the village & they are going to install them in a neighbouring village. So we employed some people to go & get the poles for us, the poles came & the MSEDCL people installed five of them for us.

Again no bribes demanded nor paid, but since they worked for 3 days we cooked all meals for all 10 odd workers.

All this has taken some time, in the meanwhile there were arguments flying to & fro with friends urging me not to go for grid power & settle for alternate sources of power. Sure’ i am all for it & we have two solar panels with 220k power each, again we need to invest in inverters & batteries…. all that can wait as of now.

So why was i so keen to get this ubiquitous grid power ? For the simple reason that with grid power connection the value of our land goes to a different stratosphere……

& eventually what sources of power we use is up to us.