Come summer and India is reeling under power cuts. As mercury is rising, anger is rising among common Indians who are forced to stay without electricity for hours. Angry residents have attacked power utilities in Delhi, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh. In Kanpur, Union Home Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal joined angry protesters demanding electricity for the city that was reeling under 16 hours of power cut. Almost every state in the country is facing grim power situation.
Delhi is facing 30 percent shortage in power. Maharashtra on an average has 8 to 10 hours of load shedding every day. Madhya Pradesh has 26 percent power deficit. In Gujarat, while the requirement is 5,500 Mega Units, availability is 4,780 Mega Units. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are facing 2000 Mega Units of energy deficit and Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir have 1,500 and 1000 Mega Units of power shortages respectively.
The real problem for power shortage in the country emanate from poor generation capacity and distribution and transmission problems. While the public sector is unable to generate enough funds for investment in the power sector, lack of return is acting as an impediment to the private players to step in this sector. Despite stringent laws, to add to the woes, power theft is continuing unabated. Power sector is the joint responsibility of the Central and the State governments. With the bulk of the transmission and distribution functions lying with the state utilities the State governments are chiefly to bear the blame for the power crisis.
The Indian economy is growing at a rapid pace at over 8 per cent per annum. The rising demand for power is outpacing supply. While electricity shortage is fueling power riots in the country, perhaps the best form of protest has come from a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, the pioneer of non-violent protests in India. Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the Governor of West Bengal has volunteered to cut electricity in Raj Bhawan, his official residence, for two hours every day.