It was a Terrible Tuesday that 680 million Indians are not going to forget in a hurry. In the world’s biggest blackout that affected onetenth of the global population, 21 states and Union Territories went on the blink after three arterial power lines collapsed at 1pm.
The northern, eastern and north-eastern regions suffered the outage when their respective grids collapsed in quick succession with devastating effect.
The blackout disrupted normal life, rail and air services as well as industrial production across sectors. Some 300 miners were trapped in coal mines. Two hundred miners were evacuated from mines in Bengal. Till the time of reporting, efforts were on to rescue 65 others stuck in Jharkhand mines.
More than 300 trains were affected. Many others are likely to be cancelled. Airports, hospitals and BPOs functioned with their back-up generators. In Delhi, commuters again had a harrowing time, with the day being a scary one for those who were stuck in the Metro Rail trains that stopped in their tracks several feet above the street or deep inside tunnels. Roads were gridlocked as traffic lights stopped working.
In Kolkata, the Metro was not hit by the outage as the city largely remained isolated since power is supplied by a private firm. But West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee asked all government offices to shut early and urged the private sector and schools to do the same to protect against commuter chaos in the evening.
Tuesday’s grid collapse, like Monday’s, was triggered at Agra, a major interconnect between the northern, western and eastern grids.
On Monday, the Agra relay station had tripped to trigger a blackout. This time too, the station kicked off a domino effect after suspected overdrawal by some of the states in the eastern grid.