Citizens' Issues
Blackout in half of the country; 200 miners trapped in W Bengal

The Northern Grid, which collapsed on Monday and was restored after 15 hours, again tripped on Tuesday. The Eastern and North-Eastern transmission lines too failed this afternoon, worsening the power situation in the country 


New Delhi: India faced a major power crisis for the second consecutive day on Tuesday as three grids serving Northern, Eastern and North-Eastern regions failed this afternoon, leading to 200 coal miners getting trapped in eastern state of West Bengal and throwing normal life out of gear in 22 states, reports PTI.


As the grids collapsed around 1pm, miners in Eastern Coalfields got trapped in Sodepur and Satgram in Burdwan districts of West Bengal, according to officials who said rescue efforts are on.


In Delhi, Metro commuters were trapped inside the tunnels for sometime as trains came to a halt as electricity supplies got snapped.


The Centre blamed overdrawal by states in the Eastern region for Tuesday's grid collapse. Power Grid Corp promised normalcy would be restored by 7pm.


The states affected included Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Odisha, Bihar, Rajasthan and Assam and Union Territory of Chandigarh, covering more than half of the population.


In Kolkata, Metro Rail services were unaffected, according to state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The state government declared holiday in its offices after 3 PM.


The Railways network across major parts of the country was among the worst hit services, as trains, other than those running on diesel engine, stopped midway.


Assam witnessed large-scale power cuts throughout the state. In Orissa also, train services were hit.


The Northern Grid, which collapsed on Monday and was restored after 15 hours, again tripped on Tuesday. The Eastern and North-Eastern transmission lines too failed this afternoon, worsening the power situation in the country when it is facing drought-like situation in most parts.


"Some sections are creating problems by overdrawing power," Power Grid CMD RN Nayak said.


This is probably the first time that three grids have collapsed simultaneously.


When asked about the reasons for the failure of grids, Shinde said some states are drawing electricity over and above their limits. "This was creating problems," the minister said.


"This morning only, I was told (by officials) that about 3,000 MW extra power has been over drawn from the Eastern Grid. We have given the direction to either stop it (over drawal) or take action against them," he added.


"Grid incident occurred at 13:00 hours affecting the Northern Grid, Eastern Grid and North Eastern Grid," National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC) said. The authorities began to restore power for essential services on a priority basis at around 1500 hours in the National Capital and other states.


India has five electricity grids -- Northern, Eastern, North Eastern, Southern and Western. All of them are inter- connected, except the Southern grid.


All the grids are being run by the state-owned Power Grid Corporation, which operates more than 95,000 circuit km of transmission lines.


One circuit km refers to one kilometre of electrical transmission line.


The authorities began restoring power to essential services at around 1500 hours, pursuant to which many services including Delhi Metro resumed operations. Services at airports and hospitals remained largely unaffected due to backup electricity available with them.


Nearly 300 trains came to a grinding halt at various places due to the grids' failure, including on the busy Delhi-Howrah route. The Metro services in Kolkata were also affected, while the West Bengal government asked the employees to leave early for home in the wake of power crisis.


Petronet LNG Q1 net profit up 5% to Rs270.8 crore

Despite low volumes, the LNG importer's total revenues jumped 52% to Rs7,030.4 crore during the June quarter

New Delhi: Petronet LNG Ltd, India's largest liquefied natural gas importer, on Tuesday reported 5% increase in its June quarter net profit as rise in margins made up for fall in volumes, reports PTI.
April-June quarter net profit at Rs 270.85 crore was higher than Rs 256.71 crore net profit in the same period a year ago, company Managing Director and CEO AK Balyan told reporters.
Petronet's Dahej LNG import and regasification terminal processed 127.17 Trillion British thermal units of gas in Q1 as against a volume of 133 TBtus in the corresponding quarter.
The company imports natural gas in its liquid form (LNG) in cryogenic ships and then turns it back into its gaseous state before supplying to consumers.
"The volumes are less because 5-6 fertiliser plants (who consume the imported gas) took maintenance shutdown in April. Things improved from April-end and this month we have seen full recovery," he said.
Turnover, however, soared 52% to Rs7,030.41 crore.
"The increase in turnover during this quarter is mainly on account of increased price of LNG under the long term contract as well as the appreciation in the exchange rate," he said.
Petronet Director (Finance) RK Garg said the net profit was higher because of "operational efficiency and better margins".
The 10 million tons Dahej terminal operated at 100% capacity in the quarter, he said adding the facility is operating at more than its nameplate capacity currently.
Balyan said the company's 5 million tons a year Kochi terminal in Kerala was on schedule and was expected to be completed by end-2012.
Petronet, which is expanding Dahej terminal to 15 million tons by 2015, has awarded the work of Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) for a 5 million tons import facility at Gangavaram port in Andhra Pradesh to state-owned Engineers India Ltd, he said.
He said the Kochi terminal would initially operate at 0.5 to 1 million tons capacity at state gas utility GAIL India Ltd would complete the Kochi-Kanjirkkod-Bangalore-Mangalore pipeline, which is to take the fuel to consumers, only by December 2013.


SLR cut may help in slashing lending rates: Bankers

The SLR cut is expected to release about Rs68,000 crore in to the system

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has done a balancing act amid weak economic conditions by increasing liquidity that can help bankers cut lending rates, and at the same time let it continue with its nearly three-year-old fight against inflation, top lenders said on Tuesday, reports PTI.
They hinted at a marginal reduction in lending rates following today's cut in the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) - the amount of deposits that have to be invested in government bonds and other liquid assets.
RBI reduced the SLR by 1% at the quarterly monetary policy review this morning.
The nation's largest lender State Bank of India hinted at lowering lending rates to retail customers.
"The one percentage point reduction in the SLR will release an additional Rs10,000 crore for SBI. That coupled with Rs6,500 crore released through the reduction in export refinance, may lead the bank to cut lending rates in retail," Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri told reporters at the customary post-policy press briefing at the RBI headquarters.
It is always better to deploy money at 10.5% return than the average of 7.5% which the SLR gives, Chaudhuri said.
He further said the bank's asset liability committee (Alco) will meet either today or tomorrow to take a call on both base rate as well as whether to cut spreads in select retail products.
RBI Governor Duvvuri Subbarao cut the SLR to 23%, thereby releasing around Rs68,000 crore of additional liquidity into the system, even as he left all the key interest rates unchanged in the anti-inflationary stance.
Accordingly, the repo or the short-term lending rates and the cash reserve ratio (CRR)- the portion of deposits that banks park with RBI without interest - at 8% and 4.75%, respectively.


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