In Mumbai, politics over power failure

Updated: 15 October, 2020 07:50 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

After energy minister says there could have been sabotage and accuses oppn of playing dirty politics, BJP asks CM to prove charges

A shopkeeper uses a mobile phone torch and candles during the power cut on Monday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
A shopkeeper uses a mobile phone torch and candles during the power cut on Monday. Pic/Suresh Karkera

Suggesting the possibility of sabotage behind the prolonged power failure that Mumbai and neighbouring areas endured on Monday, Maharashtra energy minister Dr Nitin Raut, said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was trying to derive political mileage from the outage and defaming his government and department.

He said all angles would be probed in the unforeseen occurrence. "It wasn't a simple incident. In a similar occurrence in 2011 the city had plunged into darkness. An inquiry panel had recommended certain measures then. I have asked for the action taken report," Raut told reporters ahead of Wednesday's weekly cabinet meeting. He said a committee of the Central officers (union power ministry) was also in Mumbai to probe the matter independently.

Dr Nitin Raut, energy minister
Dr Nitin Raut, energy minister

After Raut's interaction with the media, BJP's senior leader Ashish Shelar wrote to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray seeking an answer for the energy minister's repeated allegations of sabotage. "Many questions remain unanswered in Monday's power failure. The government must respond. If it is human error, then who is responsible for it?" he said, asking further why the officers responsible were not taken to task yet.

He wanted to know whether the investigative agencies were informed about the sabotage and asked to probe a criminal angle. "Please name the people who are defaming the energy department. I also want to know whether Ajoy Mehta panel's report in the 2011 incident was accepted and acted upon to save the city and MMR from unprecedented power cuts," wrote Shelar.

In response, Raut said the BJP has been doing dirty politics all along. "Technical problems do shut power supply and no government is an exception to such occurrences. However, the BJP has attempted to take political advantage through Monday's incident. Did BJP say anything when Bhopal didn't have power for six hours on Sunday? Can it be the failure of the BJP government there?" Raut asked.

He said power failures occurred also when the BJP was in power between 2014 and 2019. In June 2016, December 2017 and June 2018 also, Mumbai experienced prolonged outages.

2011
Yr in which another incident of outage took place

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First Published: 15 October, 2020 06:00 IST

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