April 22, 2006

Power situation in Karnataka is Not Good

Power plays hide & seek

Six-hour shutdowns in rural Karnataka, two to four hours in urban areas. The situation is hot as the state struggles with another crippling summer. Team TOI does a reality check.
The home district of former power minister H D Revanna; the region represented by JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda in Parliament; the district of which chief minister H D Kumaraswamy is himself in charge. Yet, the power situation is worse than it was last year. Urban areas have six hours of shutdown, rural areas 12 hours. Result: “We spend about Rs 180 daily on fuel for diesel generators,’’ said merchant Nagaraj. Progressive farmer Ramaswamy said: “2005 was the worst year we have seen so far. Revanna announced projects worth thousands of crores, but the power situation has not improved.’’
Urban supply is good, but rural areas have 12 hours of no power. Farmers have begun to have a lifestyle similar to Bangalore’s BPO workers: they stay up nights, which is when power is supplied to irrigation pumpsets. Industry labour is also upset. A worker Sachin said: “When summer comes, our wages dip, as we take forced holidays during power shutdowns.’’ Still, the people feel the fault is not entirely the government’s. “Power saved is power produced. People should not use electrical appliances other than essential fans or coolers,’’ said flower merchant Sanjay Walwalkar.
Three to four hour power cuts, interruptions every half hour in the city; supply only for six hours in rural areas.
Talur villager Range Gowda said: “My children have not even seen glowing bulbs as power and goes early comes late night morning.’’
Degree student Jayanthi’s situation is the worst: She cannot study in the night as supply is uncertain, while scorching heat and no fans rule study out during the day.
The present summer seems to be worse than the last. There are intermittent power cuts which last for an hour or two. Those who do not have invertors/ generators at homes or offices have no option but to sweat it out in the sweltering heat and humidity. The power cut is more acute in villages. Kolthige village of Puttur taluk does not get any power between 12 noon and 6 pm.
Sadashiva from Shakthi Nagar said: “I do not have any hope from the present government as only good monsoons can help the state.’’
Both Mysore urban and rural are facing the same situation: Load shedding. Two hours in the city, six hours in the rural areas. School headmistress Dakshayani is not willing to listen to any official excuses: “It is their headache. If they cannot provide power uninterrupted, let them at least not resort to unscheduled load shedding. Private college lecturer S Raviprasad is more astringent: “The government should be proactive and concentrate on creating infrastructure.’’
With shortage of power supply from RTPS, the sun-city of Gulbarga is looking hopelessly at the still fans in all rooms amidst burning hot days. It is still the start of summer and the mercury level at Gulbarga reads 42 deg C!
Officially, there is an hour’s load shedding each in the morning and evening in Gulbarga. The rural areas have six-hour shutdowns. Result: Government servants choose to sleep in the offices itself, as they have generators.
With the heat wave getting stronger, power shortage is getting acute with each passing day in the twin cities and elsewhere in the district. Residents are suffering nightmares. Urban has about four-hour cuts, rural areas about eighthours. “Hubli has been boasting about being the second city in state with underground power distribution system. But the people find no benefit,’’ rued S R Hiremath of Deshpandenagar.
The power position in Bagalkot town is far better than last year’s, though there are about three-hour cuts. But rural areas are worsening by day. “We don’t mind scheduled power cuts for 2-3 hours during the day. But power playing truant at any time will annoy anyone,’’ said Bharath Mudhol of Bagalkot Abhivruddhi Vedike.
Bidar is cooler than Gulbarga at 39 deg C. Citizens are also luckier: no urban load shedding so far, though rural areas are struggling with six hours. But the summer, as a resident said, has just begun. No one is optimistic about good times ahead.
No power cut in the city, but the rural areas get about eight to nine hours of supply. Maheshwarappa, progressive farmer in Honnali taluk said: “Compared to last year, the situation is much better.’’

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