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Better, but not enough

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s 'deadline' to private power distributing company (discom) BSES to put an end to the ongoing reign of power cuts is about to expire on Thursday. HT Correspondent reports.

delhi Updated: Jul 02, 2009 01:07 IST

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s “deadline” to private power distributing company (discom) BSES to put an end to the ongoing reign of power cuts is about to expire on Thursday.

And the government is not exactly happy yet.

“We are not happy with the local fault repairing work. In many areas it takes a lot of time, like five to six hours. This is not acceptable,” Power Secretary Rajendra Kumar told HT.

With a high level of breakdowns in the local transformers cited as one of the reasons behind the power cuts, the government is doing a real-time review of the improvement on this aspect of the discom’s performance, Kumar said.

Along with that, the helplines of the discom are also being monitored with daily reports. “But overall, there seems to be an improvement.”

The CM is expected to take up the matter on Thursday.

Adding to the Delhi government’s delayed response to the crisis, its Labour department on Wednesday directed all shops and commercial establishments, including malls, to down shutters by 7.30 pm — or switch off all electrical usage. Commercial establishments are the biggest power guzzlers in the city.

“The law under which shops are registered allows shops to remain open only till 7.30 pm. Five years ago we had granted an extension to that timing. In view of the power crisis, we have suspended that extension for 15 days,” said K.S. Wahi, Principal Secretary, Labour.

The notice is in the form of an “Appeal” and Wahi said the idea behind it was not to prosecute people but to save power.

Traders are confused if the notice applies to restaurants and malls since post-7.30 pm is peak business hours for them. The largest body of traders, the Confederation of All India

Traders, met on Wednesday and is framing a response. “We will seek an explanation

tomorrow,” said Praveen Khandewal, head of the traders’ body.

“The power cuts are now for around three-four hours,” said Pankaj Aggarwal, general secretary of RWAs Joint Front.