Manipal faces the heat3 min read
Manipal: Amidst deep crisis when the state of Karnataka is facing a deficit of 3600 MW of power, the university town of Manipal has found itself a victim of increasing power cuts.
The education hub began encountering the heat of power cuts towards the end of August, when two of the major electricity suppliers of the region, the Udupi Power Corporation Ltd. (UPCL) and Mangalore Electricity Supply Command (MESCOM) failed to supply requisite power.
Considering the geography and various other atmospheric conditions of the Udupi District and other coastal districts of Karnataka, the period from June to September is usually considered a lush period with heavy rainfall.
However, this year the trends have been different due to the weak monsoon which has resulted in more dependence on thermal power stations all across the state. “The weak monsoon has disrupted the electricity supply across the state. As per my knowledge, poor hydel storage has resulted in a reduction of 5,000 million units of electricity as compared to last year,” said Santosh Naik, Assistant Engineer at MESCOM. “There is nothing much that can be done except waiting for rainfall,” he added.
The UPCL has, however, had other technical glitches owing to which it is supplying lesser units of electricity as against its normal 1,200 MW. Where one of the units of UPCL had been shut for annual maintenance, the other unit ceased to function regularly after sand and refuse flowed in along with sea water due to various sea disruptions.
It is also the first time that Karnataka has been unable to provide uninterrupted power supply to smaller towns like Manipal. This has brought about inconvenience in the daily life of people with unscheduled load-shedding for extended hours. “Small businesses like mine require electricity to run. My profits have fallen over the last one month as now I also have to spend an additional amount on the generator. We have been given a notice about the load-shedding timings earlier but despite that, power cuts occur at almost any time,” elaborated K. Prakash, who runs a studio cum photocopy shop ‘Foto FX Studio’.
Manipal University has, however, taken steps to ensure that there is minimal disruption to the students living in the hostels, especially at a time when sessional exams are approaching for colleges like School of Allied Health Sciences (SOAHS). “Although power interruptions have caused difficulties at times, we have high capacity generators to ensure that all the hostels receive uninterrupted power supply,” said K. Rajen Kumar, employee in Manipal Integrated Services (MIS) Electricity Department, Manipal University.
The state government has instructed Bellary Thermal Power Station (BTPS), Raichur Thermal Power Station (RTPS) and UPCL, which have a combined capacity of 2000 MW, to complete maintenance and start delivering power to the grid. The Energy Department is also purchasing 900 MW of power from all sources in the open market including sugar factories and other captive power generators. It is yet to be seen how long it takes for the state to solve the power crisis.
Edited by Antara Krishnamurthy