New Delhi: There is no early respite for Delhiites from power woes. The long power cuts in the national capital will continue for a fortnight as the central government said it will take at least two weeks to resolve the crisis.
The power crisis, which erupted last week following a dust storm, became a political hot potato with the various parties indulging in blame game.
“It normally takes three months to restore lines after the damage we saw. We’ll work 24×7 and get them up in two weeks,” union Power Minister Piyush Goyal told reporters after meeting Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung over the issue.
Delhiites have been reeling under sweltering heat with long power cuts coupled with water shortage making it doubly difficult. In many areas, people have come out on the streets to protest.
But for the politicians, it is time to score brownie points and blame each other.
Goyal, a minister in the newly-formed BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, held the Congress rule under former chief minister Sheila Dikshit culpable for the fiasco in Delhi.
“For the last 15 years we had a government which was insensitive to the growing demands of the people of Delhi,” he said.
“Policy paralysis and poor execution by previous government is responsible for power crisis in the capital,” Goyal said, clearly alluding to the Congress 15 years rule in the national capital.
“Clearly the power grid as it stands today is outdated, needs augmentation and modernisation and may repeatedly have outages and tripping problems,” Goyal added.
The Congress hit back at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“Delhi is being run by a governor who in turn is the representative of the Centre. The responsibility for dismal power situation lies with the Narendra Modi-led NDA government and Power Minister Piyush Goyal,” Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely said.
The Aam Aadmi Party jumped on to the bandwagon too with its chief Arvind Kejriwal criticising the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“BJP neither able to handle power crisis nor forming government nor allowing elections in Delhi. Completely irresponsible,” Kejriwal tweeted.
A day after the Congress leaders protested and for two hours held captive senior officials, including the Delhi Chief Secretary, inside the Delhi Secretariat over long power cuts in the capital, Jung Tuesday swung into action, and held an emergency meeting with Goyal.
Goyal later said officials in the power department have been told to restore the system in 10 days.
He also said that the gas-fired power generation plant at Bawana in west Delhi, having a capacity of producing 1,500 MW of electricity, is producing only 290 MW presently. It will be provided extra gas by NTPC to generate additional 400 MW of power, Goyal said.
“Power companies have already taken steps to permanently restore these lines by two weeks latest,” the minister added.
Goyal said they are trying to find a long-term solution so that these problems do not crop up in the city next summer.
He also assured chief ministers of other states that adequate electricity will be provided in times of need as the centre is having surplus power.
The city’s power supply was affected following a severe storm May 30 which caused many lines of the Northern Grid to trip. The Northern Grid supplies power to Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. It covers 30 percent of India’s geographical area and supplies power to 28 percent of the Indian population.
The Union power ministry’s latest data shows that as many as 21 power projects have less than four days of coal supply, while another 15 projects are running less than 7 days of coal stocks. These plants together produce 55,000 mega watts (MW) or more than 20% of the total power generated in India.
Out of these, six projects of the NTPC — some of which provide power to northern India including Delhi — are running on zero coal stocks, with supplies at bare minimum to make the plant run.