Power, water shortages lead to protests in Delhi (Roundup)

June 24th, 2009 - 10:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) Gruelling power cuts and parched water supply Wednesday drove the capital’s residents to streets protesting inept management even as Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit tried to pacify Delhites by urging them to ensure “judicious usage” of electricity.
Massive power cuts and water shortage in different parts of the city made people take to the streets and block traffic at many places while shouting slogans against the city authorities.

“We are not left with any options but to protest and on Thursday we have decided to organise sit-in outside houses of legislative assembly members,” said Arun Kumar, a resident of Khanpur in south Delhi.

A group of people approached Paharganj police station in central Delhi demanding to register a complaint of “missing” water, the local councillor and legislator.

“We are not getting water and power for last several days but there is nobody to listen to our woes. We tried to meet our area municipal councilor (MC) and the member of legislative assembly (MLA) but they are missing. So, we thought to register a ‘missing’ complaint of trio - water, MLA and MC,” said Nirmal Kaur, a resident of Paharganj.

However, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) claimed that there was no water problem in the city.

“There is no water crisis in the city and our water production is perfectly normal,” DJB spokesperson Sanjam Cheema told IANS.

Delhi’s estimated 14.8 million people require 3,973 million litres per day (MLD) based on the 275 litre per capita per day norm of the DJB.

“Around 80 percent of Delhi’s water is from surface water sources and around 11 from underground aquifers,” according to an Centre for Science and Environment official.

But the power department official admitted there has been constant outages across the city.

“The load shedding across the capital Wednesday was 214 MW. The power cuts across the capital lasted for several hours from two to nine hours. The peak demand was to the tune of 4,121 MW,” a senior Delhi Transco Limited official told IANS.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members also staged a walkout from the assembly, protesting water and power shortage in the capital. The assembly budget session is being held at present.

Meanwhile, Dikshit Wednesday held a meeting to review power situation in the city after which the government issued an advisory asking Delhiites to use electricity judiciously.

The meeting was attended by power secretary and top officials of power distribution companies (Discoms) - the BSES and the North Delhi Power Ltd (NDPL). The capital at present receives around 3,800 MW electricity.

“Delhi has been facing a gap of more than 200 MW of power between availability and demand against national shortage of more than 5,000 MW due to prolonged heat wave and abnormal day-time maximum temperature and delay in arrival of the monsoon,” said an official statement here.

“This has resulted in outages and power cuts in various localities during different time durations. It is feared that this problem may continue in case heat wave conditions prevail in the coming days,” the statement said.

“The citizens of Delhi are advised to avoid unnecessary use of electricity and go only for judicious use of electrical appliances to avoid any future shortage which may happen because of uncertainty of the monsoon and the consequent loss in production of power,” the statement added.

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