State may plunge into darkness

Highlights

The State could plunge into darkness any moment in the days, nay nights, ahead, as most of the electricity department employees, including those in power generation units, distribution centers and sub-stations, joining the 43-day-old Seemandhra strike against division of the State from Wednesday midnight.

  • Glitch on southern grid could hit AP, TN, Karnataka
  • Protesting staff surrender mobile SIM cards
  • None to fix breakdown, tripping

Vijayawada: The State could plunge into darkness any moment in the days, nay nights, ahead, as most of the electricity department employees, including those in power generation units, distribution centers and sub-stations, joining the 43-day-old Seemandhra strike against division of the State from Wednesday midnight.

The staff have surrendered their official mobile SIM cards. They have announced that they would not be available even to attend to breakdowns and tripping. Only a few senior officers and the leaders of the joint action committee (JAC), who have purchased alternative SIM cards, would be available for talks.

As many as 50,000 employees, including engineers and contract workers, have joined the strike, posing a threat to the functioning of the southern power grid, which is connected to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states, besides Andhra Pradesh.

Any kind of tripping at the sub-station (distribution center) or in the power generation unit would hit power supply in the State at least after the next 24 hours. “The situation is on track now and it will work for 24 hours or even a little longer without anyone attending to them. But, we can’t guarantee its continuation either at the distribution center or in the generation unit,” M Satyanandam, Seemandhra Vidyut Employees’ JAC vice-chairman, asserted here on Wednesday.

The power generation units of Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar, Dr Narla Tatarao Thermal Power Station at Ibrahimpatnam and the Rayalaseema Thermal Power Station at Kadapa would have no staff attending to regular duties. The distribution lines across the 13 Seemandhra districts would also have no staff attending to regular duties or monitoring various systems. The substations, which require regular monitoring, would be “left to their fate”.

“We have been waiting for the UPA government to respond positively to the Seemandhra strike. We thought that the UPA would react after the APNGOs meet in Hyderabad on September 7. Unfortunately, the UPA did not respond. We can’t remain silent any more. The future generations would not excuse us if we continue like this, as power generation would be hit badly if the State is divided. The Narla Tatarao Thermal Power Station will have no water for its cooling towers, which is now drawn from the Krishna river,” Satyanandam asserted.

He blamed the UPA government for remaining silent on key issues like power upon division of the State. The Telangana region would have 75 per cent of the hydel power generated in the State, while Seemandhra would have only 25 per cent. The Seemandhra would have to depend on thermal power. He said that the State was supplying hydel and thermal power at Rs 4 a unit on an average. The Telangana region would have more hydel power stations, leaving thermal units for Seemandhra. The power charges would then touch Rs 7 per unit and supply to the agriculture sector would be impossible, Satyanandam reasoned.

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