Summer of discontent returns
EVEN AS people took to the streets in several cities of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday as well to protest prolonged power cuts, a helpless UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) looked skyward for some providential intervention for some temporary relief.india Updated: Apr 10, 2006 00:12 IST
EVEN AS people took to the streets in several cities of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday as well to protest prolonged power cuts, a helpless UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) looked skyward for some providential intervention for some temporary relief.
The state with 17 crore population, which saw one of the worst summers last year, is facing an even worse situation this time around with severe power cuts even in big cities.
Reports of demonstrations by agitated people poured in from different parts of the state with people gheraoing power officials in protest against power cuts.
Even towns like Varanasi, Meerut, Gorakhpur and Bareilly have been experiencing prolonged power cuts ranging from 10 to 12 hours making life difficult for the people, power department sources here said today.
The demand for power was over 6500 MW in view of steady rise in the temperature while there was no significant increase in supply.
The supply stood at around 4662 MW forcing the authorities to resort to large-scale rostering, sources said adding the situation in rural areas was particularly alarming as they were getting power barely for five to six hours.
To make things worse the water level at the Rihand hydro power plant had gone down to 839.8 feet and if the situation continued to be same it might affect hydro power generation, sources said. Industries have been deprived of power supply in the night thereby indicating difficult times to come during peak summers this year.
People have started protesting against erratic power supply at various places with several areas of UP capital and industrial town of Noida under severe stress. Residents of Greater Noida and Bareilly had to resort to ‘dharnas’ as power eluded them frequently even as the mercury touched 40 degree Celsius at many places in UP.
Big cities, including of Moradabad, Kanpur, Varanasi, Ghaziabad, Bareilly and Gorakhpur, are facing eight to 12 hours of power cuts resulting in a water crisis as well.
As of today, against the power demand to the tune of about 6,600 MW, UP has generation of just around 2,000 MW. Even after sufficient import from the central sector, the huge demand-supply gap has forced the authorities to impose power cuts.
UP, with mainly thermal power stations at its disposal, has installed capacity of 4,607 MW, including 4,092 MW thermal and 515 MW hydro power.
The situation is contradictory to the claim of UPPCL MD Avanish Awasthi, who had earlier claimed that March 2006 onwards, the power scene would undergo a positive change. In fact, UPPCL bosses are now virtually praying to God to let storm and rains in so that the rising mercury comes down and overhead power lines get snapped leading to a situation of power load crash.
On the other hand, Indian Industries Association (IIA) has appealed the state government to reconsider its decision of power cuts for industries after 2200 hrs.
“Industries in the state will incur losses of Rs 4,000 crore per month, while central and state governments will lose revenues worth Rs 1,500 crore due to the power rostering,” association President Tarun Kshetrapal said.
In a letter to UP chief secretary N C Bajpai, he said the industries in state were facing acute financial and power crisis and migrating to Uttaranchal and other “industry friendly states.”
“The recent UP government orders to shut down power for industries after 2200 hrs will only add to the financial crisis,” he added.
MLA and Nationalist Cummunist Party general secretary Kaushal Kishore also deplored indiscriminate power cuts which he said was badly affecting farmers and mango growers. In a letter to Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav he demanded adequate power to the people.