Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Blackout

Vasu Reddy in Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

More than 600 million people were out of power for most of the days in two consecutive days, last week in India.  The government did not offer any specific solutions to avoid any future such outages, but blamed misuse of power by the states.  As incredible as it the excuse sounds, there was not much political backlash about the outages.

The most amazing aspect of the blackout was there was no reported abuse of any kind in the two days that six hundred some million people were affected by the electric outages.  I followed the news constantly to see what the cause was why it would happen in such a mass scale, and how so many people, states, businesses could and everything and everyone involved, no one so far has been able to offer solutions.  No one is even offering a plan for resolving the outages if they happen again, and if there are even corrective steps being taken.  One thing that made me happy is that there was no looting, no mass destruction, no communal incidents, no unwanted happenings, no killings, stabbings or anything that was typically front page news in the world.

Politicians have not even harping about the failure of power grid.  Even the opposition parties have not made a big deal out of this for some reason.  In a country even the smallest thing gets blown out of proportion, power failure seems to have come and gone as quickly as it happened.  I am still trying to smart it out in wondering why the guys are not yelling and screaming for the government to be replaced.  This time even the power minister has not been castigated for non-action.

The problem is that we don’t have any power plan for the needs of the country.  The majority of power is generated for the needs of the industrial houses and big cities.  The rural and agricultural needs are probably not even considered in the power planning of the country.  Even if there is a plan for power generation, the country doesn’t have the hydro electric capabilities nor the natural resources to generate the power that is required by the country, and may not have for many decades to come.

We have too many people, too many demands, too many loopholes and too many of everything that is beyond the capabilities or the resources of the country.  There are so many problems with managing the power grid that a large percentage of the power generated might be lost in transport, further adding to the stress on the power grid.  People have no sense of community, simply their own needs and businesses and agriculture also watch out for their own needs.  No one cares about the next person, just the whole country has “ME” syndrome.  There is absolutely no overall plan for energy independence, no plan for meeting the demands for foreseeable future or how we can even plan for future.  Politically it is disastrous for parties to start offering blanket solutions for power or energy management as it is impossible for meeting the demands of the country.  We shall save the energy planning or suggestions for some other time.  This time it is to reflect on the country, and its reactions to the power outages.

It made me feel proud that the country survived two days of outages, but people simply took it in stride and went about their lives.  India is incredible despite of its issues which are complex, but the country’s resilience is incredible and unbeatable.  Jai Hind.

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