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A dim future

The blackout that plunged the better part of Delhi into darkness on Monday evening triggered a shutdown of, well, everything.
By HT Correspondent | None
PUBLISHED ON MAY 03, 2006 12:21 AM IST

The blackout that plunged the better part of Delhi into darkness on Monday evening triggered a shutdown of, well, everything. Office work stopped, traffic stalled, business transactions were suspended, banking operations disrupted and hospitals left running on generators for, in places, a stretch of five hours. Clearly, the Capital has way to go before it can call itself a modern city.

Can Delhi afford to have such shoddy infrastructure? For the working population, life practically runs on paid back-up in the form of inverters and generators. Where feasible, private enterprise has filled the citizens’ need for power and water. Which is why, the effect of Monday’s blackout was worst felt on the city’s roads. Traffic lights went on the blink and headlights in bumper-to bumper traffic were the only source of light. This is not a city known for its road discipline.  Things took a worse turn inside residential colonies, where, in the absence of any street lights, disruption was total. It is a serious matter for the government to consider. The resident’s anger may have temporarily given way to an attitude of resignation, but collective anger could well spill over into the streets one day.

It’s a matter of shame that year after year, the government sits idle on power reform measures. Fingers are being furiously wagged at ‘other’ states, especially UP, for overdrawing power. But suitable action should have been taken much earlier since it’s over a month now that officials went public with their expectations of just such a collapse. But for the average Delhiite’s resilience, the government’s apathy would have been reason enough for revolt.

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