World's biggest blackout: 67 crore Indians go without power
Triggering a major power crisis, , three electricity grids connecting more than 22 states and the national capital collapsed on Tuesday.
While the northern grid failed for the second straight day, the eastern and north-eastern grids too collapsed. These three grids carry about 50,000 MW of electricity.
The collapse left more than half of the country powerless. Essential services and public transport systems, including Railways and the Delhi Metro were also hit.
"Grid incident occurred at 1pm affecting the northern grid, eastern grid and north-eastern grid -- System Under Restoration," National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC), under the power ministry, said in an update.
The northern grid covers nine regions -- Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, J&K and Chandigarh. At least six states are covered by the eastern grid. They are West Bengal, Chattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Sikkim.
Meanwhile, the north eastern grid connects Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura.
India has five electricity grids -- Northern, Eastern, North Eastern, Southern and Western. All of them are inter- connected, except the Southern grid. All the grids are being run by the state-owned Power Grid Corporation, which operates more than 95,000 circuit km of transmission lines. One circuit km refers to one kilometre of electrical transmission line.
BJP slams UPA for power misery
The Bharatiya Janata Party hit out at the Congress-led UPA government as the northern and eastern grids tripped on Tuesday, and said it showed complete mismanagement as well as policy failure. BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said this is total failure of the UPA government in the power sector, which is manifested in the total blackout of the two days and the grid failure.
"60 crore people of the country, half of the population, is affected in 19 states. It is a huge failure of the management in the power sector by the UPA government," said Javadekar.
"Their failure is twin failure. It is management failure as well as the policy failure. As we are witnessing policy paralysis in different sectors, we are witnessing policy paralysis in power sector also," he added.
Javadekar said both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and and Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde owe an apology to the nation over the power crisis. "This is what the government is accountable for. The power minister owes an answer. The Prime Minister owes an answer to the nation why this is happening. This lowers the esteem of the country in the eyes of the world because people are watching. And you cannot provide the electricity for two consecutive days without tracing the fault," said Javadekar.
"We hope that they press the crisis button immediately and do what is needed technically as well as managerially to provide electricity to all," he added. Javadekar further said there is no real implementation of the electricity act, the major reforms in the power sector, which provided a competitive market and the maximum power.
"The management failure and policy failure has put people in dark. And for last two days, the country is suffering. This is unheard of and unparallel things are happening," he added.
Shinde, however, earlier said power for all essential services will be restored in an hour though it took until 7 p.m for Delhi to come out of darkness. Shinde said all alternative arrangements have been made to deal with the present crisis.
"I have been informed that northern and eastern, both the grids have failed. I have put in all my people at the job. The power grid chairman is working. Now, we are getting power from the western region and some other places," he said.
Power supply was disrupted in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Assam and Punjab.
Services on six lines of Delhi Metro were hit due to snag in northern grid, while a host of other services including Indian Railways were also affected.
On Monday, seven states in the northern region saw power trip off at 2.32 am due to a major breakdown in the Northern Grid - an interconnected transmission network that delivers electricity from various power generating stations to distribution utilities.
The last time such a crisis took place was in 2001, when it took 16 hours to restore normalcy.
- Asian Tribune -