By Adishi Gupta:
The term “record-breaking” is generally a glorifying matter, but ironically, Delhi’s record- breaking high temperature in sixteen years hovering around 115 degree Fahrenheit or 46 Celsius for nearly a week, has got nothing in it for its citizens to boast about. As if surviving under the scorching sun wasn’t enough, the recurring power outages in the capital have made it insanely impossible for the people to beat the heat.
It is rather a vicious circle. With record high temperatures, the consumption and demand for electricity reaches to staggering heights, distorting distribution systems and causing power outages in the capital and the adjoining states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan, which in turn leads to rising levels of fiery and unrest among the citizens against the government for its failure to provide basic amenities. According to media reports, a group of people from north Delhi set out on roads, clashed with the police and vandalised a bus to stage their anger over a night-long power cuts in the city.
According to the Centre of Holistic Department, the baking sun has caused deaths of as many as 79 homeless people in the capital so far. Students and business people are finding it extremely hard to provide efficiency in their output due to long sleepless nights under the dead fans. It has increasingly become a matter of life and death for people to sustain in this heat.
The Power Ministry blames massive thunderstorms in Delhi that stormed the city on May 30th, holding them responsible for damaging transmission lines. Sasha Riser-Kositsky, an associate at the Eurasia Group said, “Power is a political problem.” With a pun on power, this statement elaborately highlights the failure of India’s political parties, who, after attaining ‘power’, fail to provide amenities as basic as continuous ‘power’ supplies to people.
Following the trend, the situation has led to the eruption of a political row as parties are shamelessly passing the buck and indulging in extensive blame games on this issue. The Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress Party have a good opportunity to point fingers at the newly elected government, while the new Power, coal and renewable energy minister Piyush Goyal adds poor infrastructure to the accolades of the previous Congress government. The power crisis is one the of the prime challenges for the newly formed central government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who voluminously promised ‘good days’(ache din) to the people.
The Prime Minister has kindled hopes of the people by promising to revise the power sector as he did in Gujarat, making it one of the few Indian states that produce more electricity than it consumes. The situation at the national level, however, is graver because control over this sector is shared with the state governments. Analysts report that it is more likely of Mr. Modi to carry out reforms in only the states headed by his party
Delhi has for long been suffering from extreme temperatures during both winters and summers. Throughout the year, uncountable people die due to unfavourable weather conditions coupled with outdated and inefficient infrastructure. As long as the issue remains fresh, a lot is said and written about it, but with the onset of change in the weather, like everything, these voices are shoved under the cover and never talked of, until the same or worse situation arises again. With the onset of monsoon, this uproar will subside too. But till when can we possibly get away with serious situations like these if we follow the same trend?