Outage equals chaos here

powertheft-070709

“The power grid failure has given us international fame” a student declared, reading an article from Washington Post . “No wonder team Anna suggests that it is an deliberate attempt by the Government to sabotage their agitation”, he added. Well, he was not wrong, almost all the major International newspapers carried articles terming it the worst power outage on July 30th. Unaware that India is capable of more and bigger power outage just a day after that on August 1. After which they realized “it only happens in India” and took the opportunity to dedicate lot many 20 inch column space everyday rest of the week. The latest one being on “Lack of power symbolizes inequalities” . One of his friend asked,”How was the day different than any other day in NCR? On any given day there is scheduled load shedding which leaves us without power for a good 5-6 hours”. That is also true. I am also aware that its not that every summer Washington Post or New York Times writes about the severe shortage of power in NCR. Though in last few years there have been few articles suggesting India needs to improve its generation capacity or have smart grid systems. It was the balant exposure of system break down which attracted them. Our inability to sustain our basic transportation facility system were condemned by the International press. The capital region almost came to a stand still.

I was also surprised by the interest now people had in “Grid failure” discussions. I remember HT Mini (national daily special print for metro commuters) doing an article explaining supply grids and how grid fails. The article had a “FAQ” like column explaining in detail. A very helpful article which was not very enlightening for my fellow commuters. I saw several co-passengers reading the article. Still the discussion comments were very interesting. Grid system according to one passenger is a network of towers which carries electricity and can easily get effected by rain and storm since the material quality is very poor in India. A new engineering graduate rubbished his claims, according to him, “It is not poor quality of material. We overdraw power and do not generate enough”. Not everyone was convinced by this logical explanation. They still wanted to believe, it was somehow the fault of Mr. Shinde and his team. They should have taken special measures to avoid this. “Probably called engineers from Japan to suggest alternative power source such as solar cells”, suggested someone. When asked about the known capacity of a single solar cell, he was clueless. Not finding much appreciation, he came up with another bright suggestion, “Nuclear power is also a viable alternative. We don’t have Tsunami here”. His friend smiled and reminded him, “But we do have earthquakes here. They also pose high risk”. The source of energy can be different but what they fail to understand was the need to conserve energy. I never heard anyone talk about how to contribute to avoid such situation in future. There perception and conceptions were very interesting. A group of elderly women felt they were much happier in days without refrigerators, washing machine and micro-waves. Life was simpler. While there was another group where the participants felt it was a good time for Rahul Gandhi to be our Energy Minister (?). After all he has studied abroad, he should be able to implement newer technologies in India.

I smiled and enjoyed a whole lot of similar conversations. The best statement was from one who seemed to be a beliver in “Mayan Calender”, he said, “This is why we believe in end of world, it is a way of God for telling us we should not be too dependent on material things”.

Well, even if the world is coming to an end, it wont’t harm us if we contributed more towards energy conservation. Will it?

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