Culture

600 Million – Half of India’s Population – Without Power

As India’s power grid collapses. The Wall Street Journal:

A massive power failure hit India’s north, east and northeast regions Tuesday, forcing offices and factories to shift to emergency generators and raising more questions about the state of infrastructure in Asia’s third-largest economy.

The blackout was even more wide-reaching and severe than the power failure that plunged several states in northern India into darkness Monday.

Some 20 of India’s 28 states were affected Tuesday, and as many as 600 million people – half of India’s population – reportedly impacted. Monday’s blackout, which was caused by a failure of the northern grid, affected eight states with a total population of around 370 million.

Tuesday’s power outage was caused by the failure of the power supply networks in the north, east and northeast regions at 0730 GMT, according to the National Load Despatch Center, a unit of Power Grid Corpof India Ltd. It added that work is on to restore the grid.

Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde also said that efforts are being taken to resume supply as soon as possible, especially to essential services.

The electricity failure resulted in a widespread breakdown of transport and other services. A spokesman for the Northern Railways and Eastern Railways said about 200 trains were stopped in their tracks.

Metro rail services in New Delhi and its suburbs were halted as well, a spokesman for the Delhi Metro Rail Corp. said.

At Delhi’s international airport, diesel generators were switched on quickly to ensure services were not interrupted.

Arup Roy Choudhury, chairman of NTPC Ltd., India’s largest power generator by capacity, said the company’s coal-based power plants have stopped operating.

“We are expediting [the process of restarting the plants and will supply] first to the railways within the next one hour,” Mr. Choudhury said.

The government has already announced the appointment of a three-member panel to study the causes of Monday’s power failure. The committee will submit its report in 15 days’ time.

 

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