Once the State's power centre, Bellary is now 'power'less

It is pitch dark in Bellary district. There is neither a strike nor any natural calamities on a large scale. For the last one week, the people of Bellary district are facing a drought, of the power kind.

Even as the farmers of the district are yet to come to terms with the prevailing drought, they are facing more problems in the form of a power crisis. With power fluctuations witnessed every hour, life has come to a standstill. So severe is the crisis that there is power for only 15 minutes every three hours and the nights are plunged in darkness. For those whose lives are dependent on electrical gadgets, it is a virtual full stop. The power outage has disrupted daily life, with every person fighting it his or her own way.

Most of the small and micro industries are feeling the heat of the machines shutting down. Among the readymade garments units, the jeans industry is the hardest hit. With festivals like Ganesha Chaturthi, Dasara and Deepavali just weeks away, the industries have huge orders and tight deadlines. The workers have their hands full this time of the year. It is now that they rake in the additional moolah by stitching clothes which are in great demand during festivals. With power supply playing truant, the labourers have not much work in the factories. The owners of the units are jittery over the constant outage and are apprehensive of meeting the deadlines.

Outage rampage

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Mallikarjun, owner of Polex, a jeans unit, said the present crisis was of a worse kind. Never had the district faced power outage on such a large scale, he said. Hotels and eateries are also not able to satiate the gastronomic demands of their customers. They are not able to grind dosa, idly batter  and chutney, thereby turning away customers.

Says Shanmukhappa, who owns a small shop in the City: “Never have I experienced so much helplessness due to lack of power. Those who run photocopying and computer centres are also suffering alike.

Power cuts for the farmers is like rubbing salt into their wounds. With lack of power supply for their irrigation pumpsets, the farmers are frustrated that their standing crops are withering due to lack of water. Water is filled into the overhead tanks, only whenever there is power supply. The residents of rural areas are of the opinion that if the authorities concerned informed them beforehand about when the power would be restored, they would complete all their chores and keep themselves free only to fill water.

Due to the supply gap, the main feeder was unable to meet the power requirements of the district. According to Gescom executive engineer Ganesh Gowda, even the officials in Bangalore had not communicated anything to them.

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