M A I N   N E W S

Punjab power crisis deepens
Now, two-day off for industry
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 13
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has requested the Centre to increase its share in the Nathpa Jhakri power project to help it tide over the present power crisis even as it has increased the weekly off for the industrial sector to two consecutive days.

The board has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Jammu and Kashmir Government for the supply of 350 mw from December onwards.

However, that is a long way off and the board currently does not have anything at its disposal except for increasing the quantum of cuts on all categories of consumers to meet the current power crisis.

The board has increased the weekly off for industrial consumers to two days in a week, which, sources said, would result in a loss of Rs 4 crore weekly.

Offs on the industrial sector are being imposed on a staggering basis, with Amritsar (outer) and Nawanshahr circles to be shut off on Monday and Tuesday; Gurdaspur, Ferozepore and Jalandhar circle’s Phagwara region to close down on Tuesday and Wednesday; Khanna, Hoshiarpur and Sangrur on Wednesday and Thursday; Faridkot and Jalandhar on Thursday and Friday; Ropar, Bathinda, Jalandhar’s arc and furnace industry on Friday and Saturday; Mohali, Kapurthala on Saturday and Sunday; and Ludhiana (outer) and Muktsar and Tarn Taran on Sunday and Monday. Ludhiana city and Mandi Gobindgarh’s schedule will keep changing.

Industrial consumers are complaining that they are being subject to additional power cuts despite the two weekly day offs.

The Patiala Industry Association president, Mr Naresh Gupta, said continuous process industries were incurring severe losses due to the constant power cuts. He said the board should earmark its power cuts and not levy unscheduled power cuts on industrial consumers, which were its major revenue source.

Demand continues to outstrip supply, with the board authorities today projecting a demand of 1,250 lakh units against the availability of 1,068 lakh units.

The sources said the board was in this position because it was not getting any power from the eastern and western grids, besides Jammu and Kashmir. They said supply from the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station had also been reduced.

There is no hope for a reduction in power cuts in the coming days as the demand of the agricultural sector will only taper off after another 10 to 12 days.

Keeping this in mind, the board has levied power cuts of up to four hours in important cities and more than five hours in urban industrial cities. Small towns are facing cuts of nearly eight hours while rural areas are facing cuts between 14 to 16 hours.

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