NEWS > EVERYONE ELSE > SECOND BLACKOUT IN TWO DAYS LEAVES INDIA WITH AS MUCH POWER AS IT HAS CLEAN WATER
SECOND BLACKOUT IN TWO DAYS LEAVES INDIA WITH AS MUCH POWER AS IT HAS CLEAN WATER
July 31 2012
Delhi, India – Electricity is so much a part of modern society, of the modern world as a whole, that it is almost as essential as food and air. More than a convenience, electricity shepherds people back and forth to jobs, it makes economies function, and allows people to live lives deep into the night, whether for work or for pleasure.
People can certainly live without electricity at least for short periods of time. Despite the worst prognostications about the nature of humanity in a blackout, people tend to do quite well in times when the electricity is out, at least if it is out for a short period of time and not that many people are affected.
That good behaviour is certainly on test right now in India after the country suffered its second major blackout in two days, a blackout that now affects upwards of 670 million people. That outage, easily one of the worst in history, has not only brought the country to a standstill but also raised serious questions about the strength of the infrastructure in a country that has so many grand ambitions. Luckily, as officials have pointed out, they still have more electricity than they have clean drinking water so it’s not all bad.
“This is the second day that something like this has happened. I've given instructions that whoever overdraws power will be punished,” said Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.
The reason for the outage is being blamed on certain states in the country drawing more than their fair share of the electricity supply.
It’s not clear when power will be back on throughout the country though it has been restored in some of the more important areas.
“Unfortunately power grid maintenance and upgrading is a core part of any modern society and when it goes wrong, when it doesn’t work properly, it causes serious problems. We have seen that in North America and Europe and now we are seeing it in India. Upgrading these systems has to be a priority for government but in places like India the problems are obviously magnified,” said Scrape TV International analyst Gustav Hander. “There are just so many people in that country that it has to be almost impossible to maintain every single switch and breaker along the route and any one of those could cause a problem that could cascade down the system and cause problems like this.”
Kolkota, one of the country’s largest cities, is without power.
“The one good thing is that they always have large pools of standing water in India.
Obviously with no power water supplies are going to be limited, not being able to process new supplies and all, but there is always water lying around in that country and with no lights people won’t even know what they are drinking until they have drunk it so at least people won’t die of dehydration, which is nice,” continued Hander. “That would be really terrible, to have people collapsing and dying of thirst. Hopefully by the time the bacteria enters their bloodstream and starts causing serious health issues the hospitals will be back up and running. That will save a few lives at least, some.”
Many have been forced to go without fresh food since the blackout but that isn’t uncommon in the country.
Emil Uliya, International Correspondent