Telangana agitation trips power supply in Maharashtra

October 10th, 2011 - 7:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Telangana Mumbai, Oct 10 (IANS) The ongoing agitation for a separate Telangana state in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh has had a fallout in Maharashtra - massive power cuts since the past three weeks, officials said.

The Telangana agitation has reportedly resulted in blockade of crucial coal supplies to over a dozen major thermal power generation plants across the state, leading to severe power crises in both urban and rural centres, and affecting domestic, commercial and agriculture users, officials here said.

However, barring a few pockets, the country’s commercial capital, Mumbai has been spared of any power cuts so far.

Since the past three weeks, the MAHAGENCO (the power generation wing of Maharashtra State Electricity Board), has been receiving barely 12 rakes (trainloads) of coal daily instead of the required 24 rakes per day, an official said.

An MSEB official said that on account of this short supply of coal, the state is gripped by a shortage of between 3,500-4000 MW overall in the past couple of weeks, leading to massive public unrest.

“From yesterday (Sunday), we have been compelled to implement ‘planned load-shedding’ ranging from 3-7 hours in urban areas to 11-13 hours in rural areas of the state,” the MSEB official, requesting anonymity, told IANS here.

This is the first time this year that planned load-shedding has been imposed in the state which has been showing an improvement in its power supply position since the past couple of years, mainly owing to a good monsoon.

The power cuts have already angered the people and led to agitations in at least two areas of Thane since Sunday night.

While in Vasai town, irate people took out a procession and set ablaze an MSEB power supply station, another angry mob ransacked the MSEB office in Badlapur.

The situation has been compounded by a reported coal shortage even at the national level, and a flash 24-hour strike by Coal India Limited employees Monday, the officials said.

The coal supply has hit MAHAGENCO’s major thermal power generation plants in Parli (Beed), Chandrapur, Koradi, Khaparkheda, Paras - all in eastern Maharashtra, Nashik and Bhusawal in the northern parts of the state and Uran in Thane, besides smaller ones across the state.

No official is willing to make a guess for how long the situation will continue, especially with heightened demand in the October-November months when days tend to be very warm.

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