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: Power Shortages Force Blackouts in India's Sweltering Capital; Water Supply Hit



From: Associated Press
Published May 8, 2006 12:00 AM

Power Shortages Force Blackouts in India's Sweltering Capital; Water Supply Hit

NEW DELHI — Authorities in New Delhi ordered shops to shut early and air conditioners in offices to be switched off in the evening as power supplies to the Indian capital dipped while summer temperatures climbed above 40 degrees Celsius.


Shops, malls and markets were asked to remain shut for one day of the week as the government struggled to meet the demand for electricity from New Delhi. Only restaurants, cinemas and chemist shops were exempt from the new orders issued late Friday and aimed at conserving electricity.


A fall in the supply of electricity has resulted in blackouts -- often lasting several hours -- in different parts of the city as day temperatures crossed 43.5 degrees Celsius (110.30 Fahrenheit).


Offices were told to turn off air conditioners at 6:30 p.m. while people have been told not to switch on air conditioners at home till 9:00 p.m.


Power shortages have also hit water supplies in many neighborhoods since power is required to pump up water, especially in high rise buildings.


However, it was not immediately clear how the government intended to enforce the new rules among the city's nearly 15 million population.


Power outages were reported from across northern India which has been reeling under high temperatures.


At least 21 people were arrested in Uttar Pradesh state Friday after angry residents, irked by frequent power outages blocked roads and clashed with power utility workers, Ghulam Abbas, a police spokesman said.


An Uttar Pradesh power utility spokeswoman, Sadhna Bal, said the state government had ordered businesses to close by 8:00 p.m. so that power could be supplied to rural areas.


"Officers have also been asked not to use air conditioners," she said.


Source: Associated Press


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