Blackout in North as grid collapses

Massive power outage in 7 states

Blackout in North as grid collapses

Normal life was disrupted badly in North India for most part of Monday following the worst breakdown of the power grid in a decade.

The grid supplies 36,000 MW to 28 per cent of the country’s population.
The crisis hit Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory Chandigarh and sparked off total chaos as rail traffic came to a virtual halt. Road traffic was affected as well.

The impact was difficult to comprehend. Over 200 passenger trains got stuck midway in scores of places across North India.

Delhi Metro could not even bring out its trains from the depots. It could start operations only in phases after a couple of hours from 8 am onwards.

While the Power Ministry paid attention to put train services back on track, the entire situation was brought to normalcy by around 7 pm. Air services, however, were normal in Delhi. When the grid collapsed, it led to abrupt halt of thermal and nuclear power generating stations situated in the region leading to power outage in these states.

Besides Delhi Metro, the common man had to face traffic woes on Delhi roads as traffic signals failed.

The grid failure impacted more than one-fourth of the country’s population. It also affected several industrial areas and the information technology companies in Gurgaon and Noida in the National Capital Region.

What caused the crisis is yet be to established, but sources said overdrawing of power from the northern grid may be one of the reasons.

However, the Centre has constituted a high-level committee comprising officials of Ministry of Power, Central Electricity Commission and power grid have constituted probe the incident.

The problem started near Agra, considered as most critical line as it connects the western grid. “What was the problem, and how it occurred would be known only after probe,” Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters.

However, the minister did not answer a query relating to possibility of a sabotage. He said though power outages occurred at 2.35 am, restoration started around 6 am with priority being given to the railways. By afternoon, Delhi got 100 per cent power while 60 per cent electricity supply was restored in other states by afternoon.

Even the country’s seat of power, the South Block which houses Prime Minster Office, Ministry of Defence, External Affairs and North Block which has ministries of Home Affairs and Finance were not spared. Most important places including the Prime Minister residence 7 Race Course Road, Lutyens zone, where most VVIPs reside and the All India Medical Institute of India (AIIMS) were without power for hours.

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