Though situation seems bleak with the Telangana issue resulting in the acute power shortage in the city, the MD of BESCOM says that there is nothing to worry about. Claims Steps are being taken to ensure that this year's festivities are not shrouded in darkness
Historic market areas in the city, which are traditionally light up in an array of colourful lighting for Dusshera every year, for the first time imaginable are enveloped in a blanket of darkness as a result of the Telangana agitation.
Though the situation seems bleak, the managing director of BESCOM said that steps are being taken to ensure that the festivities are not clouded by darkness as a result of the power problem.
Myriad lighting adorns the bustling Commercial Street when power was not an issue in 2010
The issue, driven by the increased fuel costs and shortage of coal has resulted in load shedding and power shortage across the city and is taking a huge toll on the festive spirit.
Shopkeepers and traders associations from Brigade Road, Commercial Street, DVG Road and Malleshwaram have for years without fail, been decking up the streets with dazzling lighting and other traditional decorations as an invitation to good fortune during the festival.
This year however, the markets have been forced to wear a drab and regular look.
A stroll through any of the crowded markets areas in the city contradicts the image of what is usually a bright and colourful time of the year for Bangaloreans.
Shopkeepers cite power shortage and increase in fuel costs for the gloomy appearance the city is currently wearing.
"The frequent power cuts in the last few days have affected business very badly. We usually invest about Rs 10-15 lakh to decorate the Brigade Road area during the festive season," said Sohail Yusuff, secretary, Brigade Road Shops and Establishments Association (BRSEA).
If the BESCOM keeps its word, the Commercial Street will shed its current drab and gloomy image
This year however, members of the association are yet to decide on what kind of decorations to select to somehow manage to pull off a good show.
BRSEA members inform that they are running stores on generators as there is a severe power shortage and since fuel costs have increased.
"Besides generators are loud and cause pollution, so we will have to see what kind of decorations will be put up this year," a businessman from Brigade Road said.
The association is planning to deck the area not just for Dusshera, but also to welcome the Reach I of the Bangalore Metro, expected to start operations from October 20. Shopkeepers at Gandhi Bazaar share the same sentiment.
Power struggle "Decking up the area was a sure shot way of luring customers even if it was just for window shopping.
This year however, we are stocking only things that sell well and have decided not to invest too much on decorations," said G G Jain, a shopkeeper from DVG Road.
Commercial Street, which is usually decked up during the festive season every year, looks dull and uninviting this time
The bustling market area in Malleshwaram has also dropped the lighting approach to draw customers and is focusing on basic business.
"I have had this shop for over 35 years and even as a child I would be thrilled to come here with my mother because of the colourful decorations and lights.
This is the first time in many years that the market shuts down on time, there is no excitement and even shoppers walk around as if there is a huge cost burden on their shoulders.
Hopefully, the market will be light up for last three main days of the festivities," said K Guruprasad, a shopkeeper from Malleshwaram.
Meanwhile, after drawing flak from all quarters in the past few weeks following the rampant load shedding, the BESCOM finally offers a beacon of hope.
"There is nothing to worry about. We are aware of the situation and are taking steps to ensure that the festive season does not come under a blanket of darkness.
We have initiated discussions with the center and are hoping that by next week the power situation would improve," said P Manivannan, MD, BESCOM.
The power supply in the state was severely affected soon after the Telangana agitation began in Andhra Pradesh as tonnes of coal required to run the thermal units in the state were stuck at rail junctions in AP.