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India has suffered yet more blackouts, this time leaving more than 700 million people without power, and raising serious doubts about the country’s failing infrastructure and the government’s ability to meet the increasing energy demand as they pursue ambitions to become an Asian superpower.
20 of India’s 28 states were left without electricity, including the capital New Delhi, when three out of the nation’s five grids went down.
Hundreds of trains ground to a halt, leaving passengers stranded along tracks from Kashmir to Nagaland.
Traffic lights went out causing gridlock in New Delhi, Kolkata, and several other major cities.
Nurses in Delhi were left to operate life-saving equipment by hand when the back-up generators also failed.
In West Bengal, hundreds of miners were trapped underground for hours when lifts stopped working.
The northern grid failed first, quickly followed by the eastern and north-eastern grids, leaving an estimated 710 million in the dark.
Sushil Kumar Shinde, the Indian power minister, blamed the failures on the states individual electricity operators being too greedy and drawing more than their allotted share from the grids. “Everyone overdraws from the grid. Just this morning I held a meeting with power officials from the states and I gave directions that states that overdraw should be punished. We have given instructions that their power supply could be cut.”
Public morale is low at the moment following several consecutive blackouts, anymore could lead to protests or even riots.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com