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Power cuts in India as heatwave continues

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Three women cover themselves with scarves on a hot summer day in Gurugram, India on Sunday. – PTI

INDIA: India is facing its worst electricity shortage in more than six years just as scorching temperatures force early closures of schools and send people indoors.

Extreme heat parched large swathes of South Asia this week after India’s hottest March on record, prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to warn of rising fire risks as the country heats up too much too soon.

Local authorities in the worst-hit states are struggling to juggle power cuts and growing pressure on health services.

In the capital New Delhi, temperatures have soared past 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for several days and are forecast to linger around 44C until Sunday, with peak summer heat still to come before cooling monsoon rains arrive in June. Maximum temperatures recorded in six districts in West Bengal were at least five degree Celsius above normal, weather officials said, with the lack of rains in state capital Kolkata adding to its worries. People in Odisha state in the east set up stalls at prominent public places to offer water to those passing by.

Its neighbour West Bengal has announced summer school breaks from next week, days ahead of schedule.

Health officials in the western state of Gujarat made arrangements to tackle a potential spike in patients.

In the northwest, Rajasthan has scheduled four hours of power cuts for factories, making it at least the third state to disrupt industrial activity to manage surging power demand.

“In view of the present power crisis, has been decided to impose scheduled cuts,” a state utility said.

Industrial disruption and widespread power cuts are bad news for corporate India, as economic activity has just started to pick up after months of stagnation amid coronavirus lockdowns.


Tuesday, May 3, 2022 – 01:00

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