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Thursday, 12 June 2014

Angry protests over power blackouts in New Delhi

NEW DELHI: Angry protests broke out in India’s capital overnight over power blackouts as summer temperatures soar, fuelling concerns of a repeat of an electricity crisis two years ago, police said.

Residents took to the streets at around midnight on Tuesday in New Delhi’s northeast, attacking vehicles as frustration mounts over the power cuts, a senior officer said.

“So far we have arrested three people for damaging a bus and a gypsy (a jeep) while protesting power cuts in Bhajanpura area,” additional commissioner of Delhi police V.V Chaudhary said.

Power outages mainly in northern India have been triggered by a spike in demand as temperatures soar, leaving a dilapidated electricity infrastructure unable to cope.

Riots erupted over the weekend in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, with residents storming a substation near the capital Lucknow.

The Delhi government announced emergency power saving measures on Sunday, including cutting electricity at the city’s shopping malls, turning off street lights and ordering government offices to switch off air conditioners at certain times.

Damage to some transmission lines during a recent major thunderstorm in Delhi, home to more than 16 million people, has added to the problems.

A political row has erupted over the cuts, with new national energy minister Piyush Goyal blaming the city’s previous Congress government for outdated infrastructure, as authorities scramble to address the problems.

New Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his right-wing party swept to power last month on a pledge to reform the economy, including strengthening energy security and boosting development of solar power.

India has long struggled to meet rapidly rising demand in Asia’s third largest economy, with poorly maintained transmission lines and overloaded grids.

The two days of massive outages were blamed on Indian states taking power beyond their allocated limits and proved embarrassing for a country that sees itself as an industrialised power. — AFP

Tags / Keywords: India , New Dehli , power blackouts , electricity


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