As Telangana burns, state gropes in dark

Energy department officials say if the stir continues in AP and coal supply remains curtailed, the existing stock will be depleted in a week leaving state powerless, literally

Bangaloreans may now have to brace for longer power cuts, as the Telangana stir, which paralysed Andhra Pradesh has also severely affected the coal supply to Karnataka.

Officials from the Energy Department confirm that if the stir continues in the neighbouring state and coal supply remains curtailed, power generation will come to an abrupt halt as the existing stock is barely enough to last for a week.

Karnataka mainly procures coal from Singareni Collieries in the Telangana region, but due to the agitation most mine workers have voluntarily halted work.

Consignments that were supposed to reach Karnataka about 15 days ago has been stuck on the tracks or lying at rail yards in Chittapur and Karim Nagar.

While the state is facing a power shortage of around 2,500 MW, in Bangalore the shortage is 1,000 MW.

With no respite in sight, BESCOM has gone back to their tried and tested solution of load shedding. As a result, the several pockets in the city are witnessing two to three hours of power cuts daily.

BESCOM helpless
BESCOM has started making alternative arrangements to meet the demand. "There is a severe shortage in the state and BESCOM has been largely affected.
We have been forced to impose two-hour power cuts in the city, and four hour cuts in rural areas," said P Manivannan, managing director, BESCOM.

The Telangana stir that has been on for the last 15 days will only worsen the power situation in the state.

"The situation could be severe if the stir continues. We are currently monitoring the situation and plan to start buying power from outside if the situation does not improve," said Manivannan.

For Karnataka, the situation may worsen because of depleting coal stocks.

"We have reserves of around 1.8 metric tonnes of coal that may last for seven days. If the Telangana issue is sorted out by then, there won't be any big problem or else the state will become powerless, literally," an official said.

Dark days ahead
Citizens have lashed out at the BESCOM for not playing-by-the-book.

"We have no problem if power cuts are designated for two hours, but the reality is that we face frequent cuts throughout the day," said S Sivalingam, resident of Banashankari.

Even though BESCOM has resorted to load-shedding as per the rules, it should inform citizens about timing well in advance.

They should also get the necessary permission from the electricity commission for the same.

With the BESCOM drawing flak from all quarters for various issues, including the proposed power tariff hikes, it remains to be seen how they would solve this problem, which is likely to leave the state groping in the dark.

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