Heat wave, power cuts make life tough in West Bengal


Kolkata : Sweltering heat and frequent power cuts have hit normal life in West Bengal, with the state power authorities urging people not to use air conditioners in the evening. State Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said the power crisis would continue this month.

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Many south Bengal districts, including Bankura, West Midnapore, Birbhum, Purulia, Howrah, Burdwan, South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas were reeling under heat wave conditions. Met department sources said the maximum temperature rose to 40.1 degrees Celsius in Kolkata Sunday, 14 degrees Celsius above the average

“The heat wave will continue for the next few days,” they said.

The situation has become more unbearable in the districts, apart from Kolkata, due to frequent power cuts resorted to by the electricity distribution companies to offset the power shortfall. The power shortfall had Saturday soared to 800 MW in the peak hours.

Such is the magnitude of the deficit that West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL), which supplies power to Kolkata and districts, has appealed to the consumers not to waste electricity and desist from using air-conditioners between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. till the situation improved.

The authorities have decided to go for load shedding in three phases in the districts, with each period lasting between one and half hour and two hours.

Bhattacharjee admitted that the people were inconvenienced due to the power problem.

Speaking at a rally at Malda town in north Bengal, he said two power generating units at Bakreshwar of Birbhum district and Kolaghat in East Midnapore district had collapsed. “Once they are repaired, things will be better”.

However, the chief minister said the problem will continue for the rest of April, with transformers catching fire in the rural areas.

“This is happening in the villages, in the fields. I have given instructions that whenever a transformer burns down, it must be replaced immediately. This month will be problematic. But after a few days, we will be able to overcome it.”