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Delhi blows its fuse over power cuts


Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) lost their patience on Tuesday with relentless daily power cuts ranging between 12 and 18 hours. In Gurgaon, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad, angry residents blocked roads, burnt tyres, and even attacked power sub-stations with stones.


The hottest Delhi summer in decades and steeply rising power bills have made long power cuts all the more unbearable.


Public anger could rise if the delayed monsoon doesn't arrive soon and dry farmlands start drawing more power from the little that is available.


"Burdened by 14-hour power cuts, our inverter batteries have gone dead," said Manoj Mishra, a resident of Shalimar Garden in Ghaziabad.


"Last night I slept with my family in the car, keeping the engine and air-conditioning on."


Gurgaon, which is worst hit in NCR with outages as long as 18 hours, saw riot-like scenes in the morning when residents formed mobs and took to the street, blocking traffic for five hours between 8am and 1pm on Delhi Road.


Many office-goers reported late for work, while some companies were forced to shut offices two hours before schedule.


Protesters threw stones at the Sector 52 power station late night on Monday, forcing discom employees to lock themselves inside.


Residents blocked traffic at the Ardee City crossing, prompting the police to divert vehicles on Tuesday night.


Pressure groups such as the Joint Action Forum of RWAs (JAFRA) and Mission Gurgaon Development have threatened a mass movement, including hunger strikes in coming days.


"We are looking forward to the monsoon. The situation will improve only if it rains. Power production has been badly affected because of breakdowns in the plants," said Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitaran Nigam managing director Amit Agarwal.


In Faridabad, citizens blocked National Highway 2 (Mathura Road). Power sub-stations were attacked at many places and the police had to be called in.


Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad, which are reeling under eight to 14 hours of blackout, saw furious residents protesting at power sub-stations on Tuesday.


The Uttar Pradesh government has now directed district magistrates to provide security at the sub-stations.


Delhiites haven't been spared either. On Monday night, Dwarka, Safdarjung Enclave, Sarita Vihar, Mayur Vihar, Greater Kailash and Rohini among other areas faced power cuts lasting six hours or more.


The city's power department and distribution companies blamed low frequency for the power cuts.


With Haryana and UP overdrawing from the northern grid, Delhi was experiencing low frequencies of transmission and having to resort to power cuts, they said.


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