Night-time power cuts starve Uttar Pradesh industries

September 9th, 2008 - 8:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyLucknow, Sep 9 (IANS) A flat power cut currently imposed across Uttar Pradesh on all industries at night is seen as state Chief Minister Mayawati’s bid to insure uninterrupted power supply to all Muslim dominated localities during the month of Ramadan.Even as top officials of the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation attribute the sweeping power cuts to “sudden increase in the night demand”, insiders allege the move was initiated with an eye on the Muslim vote bank.

With the cut on industries, the state power corporation was claiming to provide uninterrupted power supply to all cities and towns across the state.

And interestingly, top officials of the corporation claim that the increased demand was on account of “excessive use of air-conditioners to beat the rise in heat and humidity”.

The claim is, however, disputed by insiders. “Where is the question of a rising demand at this time of the year?” asked a senior engineer of the power corporation.

On the condition of anonymity, he went on to add: “The demand is at its peak during summer. This sudden move to impose a night power cut on all industries in Uttar Pradesh is surely prompted with political objectives in mind - which is to do with the month of Ramadan.”

A delegation of Uttar Pradesh Industries Welfare Association met state Energy Minister Ramveer Upadhaya Tuesday, seeking his intervention to resolve the crisis on account of the official diktat.

“The minister asked us to bear with the government for a month as no solution was likely before that,” association president Yunus Siddiqui told IANS here.

Top BJP leadership was accusing the Mayawati government of “appeasement of Muslims” at the cost of the state’s industries.

“Already the industrial production of the state is extremely low and now with industries being deprived of power at night, they are bound to suffer more. But it was quite apparent that the government was out to impress Muslims,” former state Bharatiya Janata Party chief Vinay Katiyar told IANS.

Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation managing director Avanish Awasthi, however, emphasised: “The peak hour demand of power goes up to about 7,800 MW, which was nearly 1,300 MW higher than the available power that stood at just about 6,500 MW.”

He said: “Our own generation was as low as 2,800 MW while the rest was purchased from different central government energy sources including the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).

Maintaining that the power made available through the industrial cut was being used to insure uninterrupted night supply to all towns.

When his attention was drawn to the widely criticised poor and erratic power supply even in the state capital as well as other major cities like Kanpur, Varanasi, Agra, Allahabad or Gorakhpur, he said: “Well, we are providing 16-18 hours of electricity in all district headquarters and up to 14 hours in the smaller towns.”

Blaming the sudden rise in power demand on “increased use of air-conditioners”, he said, “after all it is so hot and humid that everyone wants to spend the night in AC rooms. The only way we could let them sleep in peace was by diverting power used by industries at night.”

He did not deny that the night demand had gone up also on account of the month of Ramadan.

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