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Karnataka faces massive power shortage


Bangalore : India’s IT hub may go without power for up to six hours a day and Karnataka’s rural areas up to 10 hours a day from Aug 1 as the state is facing a severe power crisis, the government indicated Wednesday.

“There will be 25 percent power cut in August and the remaining of July will see 20 percent load shedding,” Energy Minister K.S. Eshwarappa told the state assembly here.

Eshwarappa will announce a power-cut schedule on Thursday or Friday. For several days now Bangalore and other parts of Karnataka have been facing power disruption three to four times a day, each lasting a minimum of an hour.

“The government decision means the cities will be without power for up to six hours and rural areas up to 10 hours a day. This is very harsh on people,” Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge of the Congress told reporters.

Eshwarappa said average daily power consumption in July was 116 million units compared to 99 million units in the corresponding month last year.

“This is an increase of 16 percent,” he said

The failure of monsoon has added to the woes of the perennially power-starved state, heavily dependent on hydel power generation.

Eshwarappa said the state government was getting only about 1,500 MW from the central power grid whereas neighbouring Tamil Nadu was receiving over 3,000 MW and Andhra Pradesh too nearly 3,000 MW.

“We have asked the central government to increase Karnataka’s share to 3,000 MW too,” he said.

The state will purchase 500 MW from the Power Trading Corporation and 50 MW each from two private power producing firms. Power is also being bought from Indian Energy Exchange to meet day-to-day requirements, Eshwarappa said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Chhattisgarh has also assured to help the party’s first government in Karnataka and the south to tide over the crisis.

“We are confident of buying 200 MW to 300 MW from Chhattisgarh,” Eshwarappa said.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh was on a private visit to Bangalore last week and Eshwarappa as well as Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa requested him to supply 500 MW of power in view the failure of monsoon in the state.

Raman Singh has assured to consider selling up to 300 MW.