BJP legislators protest against long power outages in Kanpur
Legislators and supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) recently took to streets here to protest against the state government's inability to prevent long power cuts.
Two years after one of the world's biggest blackouts deprived at least 300 million people of power, India still suffers from frequent cuts that undermine efforts to revive the third-largest economy in Asia.
The unscheduled power outages have not only hit the daily life but affected the water supply too.
Offices and shops have resorted to generators for temporary power supply.
Staging a day-long protest, BJP legislator Satish Mahana said they would intensify their demonstrations if electricity supply is not restored.
"BJP has always protested against power crisis both on the roads as well as in the parliament. But the government is not paying any heed. In Kanpur city, the power cut goes on for 24 to 36 hours. In rural areas, the electricity is not supplied for more than two hours. Farmers, businessmen and students are worried, considering which the workers of Bharatiya Janata Party are protesting here for 24 hours. After the protest, we will come up with another strategy and will trouble the government to make electricity available to the city," said Mahana.
The BJP has blamed outages in Uttar Pradesh on the Samajwadi Party (SP) that rules the state, saying it is punishing constituents who voted for other parties in the general election. The local government rejects the charge and says it is not getting enough power from the federal government to meet demand.
India's power generation has grown - the peak deficit is down to 5.4 percent from 16.6 percent in 2008, government data shows - but getting the supply to end consumers is far trickier.
Regional politicians tell distributors to prioritise supply to favoured constituents, while popular pressure for cheap or free power has kept theft high and prices artificially low, straining utilities' finances and curbing new investment.
In 2012/13, India's power system was able to supply a peak of just 124,000 megawatts for a country of more than 1.2 billion people.
Generation is dominated by old and inefficient coal-fired units that belch soot, toxic pollutants and carbon dioxide. Coal accounts for 60 percent of India's installed generation capacity with some hydro (16 percent) and renewables (13 percent) as well as smaller amounts of natural gas and nuclear.
(Posted on 27-08-2014)