Power-cuts rile Tamil Nadu industrialists, farmersJuly 14th, 2008 - 5:51 pm ICT by IANS
Chennai, July 14 (IANS) Unannounced power-cuts have triggered state-wide ire, said opposition sources and farmer bodies’ representatives in Tamil Nadu Monday. “There is hardly 10 hours’ power supply in the industrial districts of Vellore, Salem, Erode and Coimbatore. During the coming weeks we will expose the government’s poor performance in the power sector,” K.L Elavazhagan, a PMK legislator, said.
The MLA had led protesters in Vellore district Sunday who had donned garments made of leaves to indicate shortage of electricity to power-looms and garment industries. K. James, the president of a body of small scale industrialists, told reporters in Coimbatore that the small scale industrialists had lost over Rs.700 million during the last 9 months due to ‘illegal’ power-cuts.
As part of the ongoing agitation against the load-shedding, traffic would be blocked in Coimbatore on July 16, James added.
Meanwhile, the power-scarcity has hit agricultural output as well.
Plantain farmers around Madurai and Sivaganga districts of southern Tamil Nadu said their produce had been affected by shortage of water due to the unavailability of electricity.
“Our plantations used to be watered by electric pumps because of a chronic shortage of rainfall in this region. Due to the power-cuts, the output has gone down since we cannot water our plantain trees. Worse, the plantains produced are fetching hardly 40 percent of their price in the markets as they are skinny due to water scarcity,” N. Ganeshan, a farmer said from Sivaganga.
The resultant losses are at least Rs.500 million in southern Tamil Nadu, Ganeshan added.
Persistent power-cuts also affected paddy farmers in the Thanjavur delta, who were hoping to water their transplanted rice-shoots with groundwater.
“While mother Cauvery has chosen to curse us this year, mother earth will not be able to do so due to paucity of electricity. All we can do is, launch a concerted protest against the state demanding power,” said P. Vishwanathan, an agriculturist based in Kumbhakonam.