Madhya Pradesh is witnessing a rare shortage of power, sparking spontaneous street protests, traffic blockades and even attacks on electricity supply offices in many parts of the state over the past two days.
The state is not used to long outages and the government has so far managed to supply round-the-clock power to the major cities.
But a poor monsoon coupled with coal shortages have led to power plants running out of fuel, sources at the Power Management Company said.
"There is a deficit of nearly 800 MW power right now, but we hope that coal procurement would improve and hence power production will also go up," said an official of the company.
Under the Atal Jyoti scheme, the government had promised that there will be round-the-clock power supply in state. But over the past couple of days many parts of the state are witnessing outages of 10-12 hours.
Small businesses such as flour mills, photocopy and fabrication businesses are the worst affected due to erratic power supply. Irrigation has also suffered.
Some of the public anger is boiling over on to the streets.
In Bhander and Indergarh towns, residents blocked road for hours while in Seondha, a mob laid siege to the power company office.
In Seoni-Malwa in Hoshangabad, farmers staged a dharna at the tehsil office while in Vidisha, villagers staged a 'chakka jam'.
Similarly, in Pichhor town in Northern MP, people pelted stones at the power office. Also, in Shivpuri district torch rallies were taken out. In Mungaoli, Sagar and Ashok Nagar, people took to the streets and staged protests.
"There are power cuts in the morning and evening and, apart from this, the electricity goes off during the day also", said Dr MR Kumar, a physiotherapist in Shivpuri. "It is a big problem as I run a clinic."
The state government said these are not scheduled power cuts but the supply is affected due to poor monsoon, due to which power generation has declined.