Monster blackout fuels calls for India power reforms
NEW DELHI (AFP) - A massive power failure hit India for the second day running as three regional power grids collapsed on Tuesday, blacking out more than half the country in a crisis affecting over 600 million people.
"The north, north-eastern and the eastern grids are down but we are working and we will have them restored shortly," Mr Naresh Kumar, a spokesman at the Powergrid Corporation of India Ltd, told AFP.
Federal Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters that the monster outage, which struck around 1pm (3.30pm Singapore time) in the middle of the working day, was caused by states drawing power "beyond their permissible limits." In New Delhi, the metro train system came to a standstill and traffic lights were out, causing chaos for the second day in a row after a failure on the northern grid on Monday which caused the worst outage in more than a decade.
"Drivers of all the metro trains have been asked to stop at the stations. No passengers will be allowed in the metro station until power is restored," said a spokesman for the network which carries two million people a day.