Power crisis hits people, firms hard

Buying energy impossible, government tells industry

Power crisis hits people, firms hard

The government has resorted to unscheduled loadshedding for five to six hours during the day in Bangalore, while other cities and rural areas have plunged into a virtual darkness. The government is citing failure of many units of Raichur Thermal Power Station and the Bellary Thermal Power Station for the current crisis.

As people fret and fume at the worsening power situation, owners of small scale industries in and around Bangalore on Friday approached the government, demanding uninterrupted power supply for at least eight hours a day. The crucial network of water supply has gone haywire. Water pumping stations are not equipped with back up power and this has affected water supply in many areas.

Compared to people in the hinterland, city dwellers are relatively better placed when it comes to availability of power.

Basavaraj Thambaki, a farmer in Talamadagi village, Humnabad taluk, Bidar district, said his village is getting three-phase power for two to three hours, and single-phase power for two to four hours.

“In all, we get power for four to six hours a day. We have been lucky enough to get rain from July onwards. But we do not have power to use IP sets to pump water from borewells or tanks. The situation is very bad.”

Baba Saheb Abdul Raheem, a marginal farmer at Khudanpur of Belgaum district, said: “I sleep near the borewell on my field. Whenever power comes back, I wake up to pump water to the fields. At the most, we get four to six hours of electricity a day.”

At a meeting with Energy Department Principal Secretary Shamim Banu and Bescom Managing Director Tushar Girinath at Vikas Soudha, owners of small industrial units threatened to shut their sheds and hit the road in protest against the government’s inability to supply quality power.

“All our production schedules have gone haywire due to frequent power cuts. We have no clue when there will be power and when not. We are incurring huge losses as a result,” Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association President S S Biradar said. There are nearly four lakh small scale industrial units across Karnataka. Of these, nearly one lakh units are located in and around Bangalore. Industry owners even threatened to hit the streets if the situation worsened.

After heated arguments and counter-arguments from both sides, Banu was forced to announce that the government will provide uninterrupted supply to all industrial areas in Bangalore between 10 am and 6 pm from August 17.

However, she said there will be two- hour power cuts in the morning (6 am to 10 am) and during evening peak hours (6 pm to 10 pm) on a rotation basis in all the industrial areas, including Peenya, Rajajinagar, Mahadevapura and Bommasandra.
Power supply during morning and evening peak hours to the industrial areas, Banu said, is not possible. The government has to provide quality power at least during the peak hours to domestic connections, she added.

Biradar said the association representatives will hold similar meetings with managing directors of respective Escoms and demand uninterrupted supply during the day.
Banu said the present situation will continue for the next two weeks. Steps were being taken to repair the RTPS and Bellary Thermal Power Station. Besides, efforts are  underway to purchase power from outside the state, she added.

Speaking to representatives of KASSIA, she said repairing of both generating stations are  going on. At the same time, the government is making all efforts to purchase power to tide over the situation. “However, there is no power available anywhere to purchase. All our neighbouring states, too, are facing the crisis,” she stated.

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