Blackout cripples tricity
Residents go without power for seven hours after Northern Grid failure; water supply, health services hit, rail passengers stranded
CHANDIGARH/PANCHKULA/SAS NAGAR: The Northern Grid failure past midnight on Monday plunged the tricity into darkness with electricity supply remaining disrupted for around seven hours. In the absence of power supply, essential services like healthcare, water supply and transport were severely hit.
At around 2.30 am, power supply was disrupted in the entire tricity. Initially, people thought it was a routine power cut or technical snag. It was only in the morning that they came to know that the Northern Electricity Transmission Grid had collapsed, leading to power failure in the entire region.
Water supply services were severely hit in Chandigarh with the municipal corporation failing to deal with the emergency situation in the absence of a generator set to pump in water. After receiving complaints of water shortage, the public health department hired a generator on rent. City residents complained that the staff members at the MC complaint centre did not take their complaints seriously and expressed their helplessness in rectifying the situation, citing the power breakdown. Later, the MC public health department sent water tankers to various places in the city, including Ramdarbar Phase 2, Sector 29-C, Sector 7, Sanjay Colony, Deep Complex, Colony Number 4 and southern sectors.
Water supply also remained disrupted in SAS Nagar and Panchkula, though the authorities tried to supply water through generators. However, there were complaints of low pressure from various areas.
“Water supply to some areas was affected. Though the motors at the Kajauli waterworks were not in working condition, we still supplied water to the town with the help of generators. We compensated the residents with afternoon water supply,” said an official of the water and sanitation department, SAS Nagar.
Talking to HT, Neeru Sharma, a resident of Sector 12, Panchkula, said, “It was a chaotic morning as even at night we could not sleep properly due to the power failure. Besides, there was no one to attend to calls at the electricity complaint number at night. It was only in the morning that we got to know that the power had failed in the entire city. Both my children had to miss school as they could not sleep properly. To add to our woes, there was no water supply in the morning.”
Talking to HT, Devwrat Sharma, chief communication officer, UHBVN, said, “It was a system failure and nothing could have been done in such a situation. We got to know about it at night itself and since our hands were tied, nothing could be done except waiting for the fault to be rectified.”
"As per the guidelines of the central electricity regulatory commission, we have to shut down power supply immediately after getting directions from the Northern Regional Load Dispatch Centre (NRLDC). At around 2.30 am, we got a message from the NRLDC to shut down the power supply immediately, and we acted accordingly," said MP Singh, superintendent engineer, electricity department, Chandigarh. HEALTH SERVICES HIT
Healthcare services were particularly hit in the tricity. No MRIs, X-rays and CT scans could be conducted at the PGI till the power supply was restored late in the morning. Besides, routine operations could not be conducted on time and work at OPD registration counters was delayed. Diagnostic and surgical services were also interrupted in other hospitals of the city, including Government MultiSpeciality Hospital, Sector 16.
The situation in Panchkula and SAS Nagar hospitals was not any different. At the SAS Nagar civil hospital in Phase 6, attendants and patients had a harrowing time as the hospital authorities took about two hours to restore power to the emergency ward. “After my relative complained of pain in the leg, we took him to the civil hospital. But due to the power failure and lack of follow-up, we had to take him to a private hospital for administering a painkiller injection,” said Jeet Singh. Out of the eight surgeries planned, two were postponed.
Commuters stuck in a traffic jam at the Sector-17 ISBT roundabout in Chandigarh on Monday morning after the power breakdown.