Friday, June 25, 2010

National Capital Boiling because of Power Outages

Even as chief minister Sheila Dikshit has warned discoms against power cuts, heat-battered Delhiites continue to reel under long outages. In a city where authorities insist that there is no power shortage, the aam admi is going without electricity for hours together.

Aya Nagar near Mehrauli is ‘‘feeling powerless’’ these days. While the recently inaugurated Gurgaon Metro line is lit up with thousands of decorative bulbs every evening, residents of Aya Nagar have no power in their houses for up to 12 hours. ‘‘We face power cuts for up to 12-14 hours every day. The discoms’ complaint centre numbers are either always busy or switched off,’’ said resident Anuj Istwal. ‘‘Yesterday was my brother’s marriage. Long outages affected the water supply. Now my younger brother is admitted in Max hospital as he contracted jaundice while two other relatives are recovering from other illnesses,’’ added another resident Sunita Kumari.

Every colony had similar tales of woe. ‘‘In the last few days, we had power cuts for 14 hours at times. There is absolutely no response mechanism in place considering such extreme cuts should come with at least a warning,’’ said Pankaj Agarwal, general secretary of Safdarjung Enclave RWA. In Arjun Nagar, residents appealed to the local MLA for help. ‘‘There was no power on Monday for hours during night. It was only after the MLA intervened that supply resumed at 2am,’’ said O N Sharma, president of Arjun Nagar RWA.

Anju Joshi, resident of Pushp Vihar, said: ‘‘We are quite used to excessive power cuts, especially in this season. Our lives come to stop for hours at a stretch and it’s particularly difficult to handle children as they are much more sensitive to heat.’’ In Dwarka, resident Shresth Banerjee said they went without electricity for 10-12 hours while Janakapuri resident Meera Khanna said they had no electricity from 4 pm to 9 pm on Thursday. ‘‘The AC does not work on inverters. I called the BSES helpline about 10 times but each time, I was unable to get through,’’ she complained.

Discoms laid the blame on the Northern Grid for the extended outages. ‘‘Some south Delhi areas suffered because of a transmission line shutdown for the Games. There were also some local faults in some colonies which we looked into at the earliest,’’ said a discom official.

Cases like Aya Nagar had their own set of problems. BRPL CEO Gopal Saxena said: ‘‘NHAI is widening roads on the Andheria Mor-Gurgaon stretch and contractors have been careless snapping many of our cables. Unfortunately, they have covered these damaged cables with mud instead of letting BSES know so that we can fix those cables. We have spoken to the director of NHAI and the contractors to sensitize them to the situation as these are high-tension wires.’’