In one of the first signs of an industrial strife, street protests have begun in the key industrial estate of Haridwar in Uttarakhand which has been plagued by heavy power cuts in the past few days.
After the two-days blackout as a result of grid collapse on July 30-31, the government has resorted to heavy rostering in the industrial areas, a move which is being seen as a measure to avoid its heavy dependency on the northern grid. A group of industrialists at Haridwar held a protest demonstration to highlight their anger against what they termed “complete power breakdown.”
The unscheduled power cuts in the industrial areas, sometimes ranging from 10-12 hours per day, has adversely affected production in most of the 6,000-7,000 units which boasts of having top-notch manufacturing units like ITC, Bajaj Auto, Tata Motors and Hero Motocorp.
Problems of production units were compounded on Saturday when most of the hydel projects were shut down in the wake of heavy floods. This forced the Uttarakhand Power Corporation Limited (UPCL), the sole power distributing utility, to buy 300 Mw of power from the energy exchange instead of overdrawing from the northern grid.
A delegation of the Industries Association of Uttarakhand, an apex body of small and medium enterprises , led by its President Pankaj Gupta, met Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and lodged a strong protest against power cuts to industries. “The situation in Uttarakhand is very bad as far as power is concerned. This is leading to resentment among the industrialists. We have asked the CM to buy more power from the open market in order to give us some relief ,” said Gupta.
When contacted, Rakesh Sharma, principal secretary, industrial development, admitted the power situation was bad in the state but added the government was launching efforts at different levels to restore normalcy. “We will buy more power as we will not allow our industries to suffer,” said Sharma.
Meanwhile, the state-run Uttarkhand Jal Vidyut Nigam (UJVN) Ltd on Sunday said it has launched efforts to resume 250-300 Mw of power generation from Chibro and Khodari hydel projects a day after most of its power plants were shut down due to heavy floods and silt.