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Concerns for India’s infrastructure after 600 million people left without power

An immense blackout affecting a large proportion of India has raised concerns over the country’s infrastructure and its ability to support the rapidly increasing population and associated urban development. The power cut began on 30 July leaving approximately 600 million people without electricity; the main areas hit include Punjab, Haryana, Uttar, Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. By Tuesday 31 July, twenty of the twenty-eight states in India were without power.

Officials have pointed the finger at certain states suggesting that they have used more than their quota of power, causing the infrastructure to break down and leaving much of India without electricity. This power cut caused widespread disruption including traffic confusion, breakdown in public transportation services, closure to water treatment plants, and miners being trapped underground after lifts were suspended.

The BBC’s India Correspondent Soutik Biswas reported: “Monday’s massive power cut is reportedly the first of its kind in more than a decade, affecting nearly (30%) of India’s population in nine northern states. At the root of this is the severe energy crisis facing India today.

“The country is facing a huge supply shortfall this summer. A shortage of coal (most of India’s energy is thermal), loss-making state electricity boards, the theft of power, a lack of transparency in fixing electricity charges and underperforming private distribution agencies mean that vast swathes of India live without electricity for several hours a day.”

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