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Uttar Pradesh has earned the dubious distinction of being the most electricity-deficient state in the country, according to the latest numbers released by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).
The state registered a supply shortfall of 3,849 megawatts (MW) – 24.5% of its total demand – in the first quarter of 2014 financial year (April to June), beating Jammu and Kashmir’s 20% deficit figure.
The numbers mean bad news for Akhilesh Yadav’s government, which has been fire-fighting on multiple quarters including deteriorating law and order and increasing communal volatility in the state.
The rampant power cuts thus caused had seen citizens taking to violent protests. In late May, many cities saw residents taking to the streets and on one instance, reported from Chandauli, a junior engineer of the UP Power Corp Ltd (UPPCL) was held hostage by furious protesters.
In a few other cases, power substations were attacked. Most parts of Uttar Pradesh see searing heat, with temperatures crossing 43°Celsius, in the summer months of May and June.
Sources said UP’s power crisis was not only on account of low generation, but poor infrastructure –transmission lines, substations, transformers – also contributed to the crisis.
As the crisis peaked, the Samajwadi Party blamed the new government at the Centre, which maintained the blame lay on the state government. The state has also been blamed of bias in electricity supply.
According to CEA statistics, UP’s deficit has shot up substantially compared to the same period last year. In 2013, between April and June, UP had an average deficit of 2,845MW.
Among other northern regions, Chandigarh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand had no demand-supply gap during the period while Delhi and Himachal Pradesh had a deficit of only 2.7 % and 1.5%, respectively.
Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Assam and Bihar are among other states where the demand-supply gap was more but they had shortage varying from 6 to 12%.