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Power crisis hits Indian states

25 July 08 13:40 GMT

Authorities in the western Indian state of Maharashtra have announced tough measures to deal with a power crisis.

The state's 250,000 industries will now get power only five days a week and malls and government offices have been told to reduce energy consumption.

Scanty rains, growing demand for power and lack of new power plants has led to shortages in others parts of India too.

The southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are also reeling under severe power shortage.

In the last few days the two states have also announced a slew of measures to curb their energy use.

Cut imposed

"Industrial staggering or power cuts have been increased for industries to 40 hours per week," Maharashtra Electricity Distribution Company Limited official Ajay Bhushan Pandey told reporters in the state capital, Mumbai.

Mr Pandey said a 10% cut on electricity consumption has been imposed on all government offices, civic bodies, the information technology industry and other high-use customers.

An acute power shortage has afflicted Maharashtra for many years now, but less than average rainfall this year has worsened the situation.

Also, with the increasing numbers of shopping malls and new factories and growing foreign investments, there has been a surge in demand for power.

But, says the Power Grid Corporation's Anjan Roy, "In the last five years, no new power houses have come up in the state. The result is that today load shedding (power cuts) has become a major problem."

The power crisis has also affected farmers and common people with 12 to 14 hour power cuts reported from rural areas.

A few days ago, the government of the southern Andhra Pradesh state also directed all industries to remain shut for two days every week.

Reports say due to frequent power cuts, industries in the state are already struggling to meet their production targets and their output is likely to reduce further with the increase in power cuts.

In the neighbouring Karnataka state, the capital city and India's IT hub Bangalore has seen several hours of power cuts every day.

The state government has announced the city's power supply will be reduced by 20%.

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