Delhi Diary-Blackout

At 1 AM last night the electricity went down with an all too familiar plong. The backup generator tries to do what it can do, but this is not much at 2AM with still 40 degrees outside. But while the plong is a most familiar sound the reason for electricity breakdowns is not a too easy thing to detect. As most things in India it is rather complicated. The electricity network especially in Delhi is not too bad, even when the electricity supply lines are fastened around a mango tree. There are competing suppliers and BSES is the biggest one among private companies, nearly serving two third of Delhi’s population. In most households even meters are installed and possible power cuts are surprisingly often announced. This counts true for those, who are able to pay for electricity. It looks different and even more difficult within the slum clusters, while with every new election cheap electricity and water is promised, in reality there is no such thing as regular supply beside of illegal access but on a larger scale it is not significant enough to cause a larger black-out. But nevertheless electricity is a sensitive issue and government after government introduces plans and measurements to tackle short-cuts. The question of sufficient electricity supply in India is for companies private or (partly)- state-owned a question of surviving. Just recently a law has passed that introduces a range of penalties for insufficient power supply. Power shortages and how to avoid them will become more and more a currency of its own. But electricity is as well and maybe one of the last fields where employees can gain some influence. The latest blackout has been introduced by workers protesting with directed short-cuts against the company policy. And this is when things become even more complicated. While parties and companies are not too be sued for not cashing in „electricity“ promises made whenever it suits their political agenda, disciplinary action is immediately initiated against those who protest. The employees, most of them, even when working for more than ten years in the industry are working as contractual employees without being able to plan a secured future, which means in the first place being able to afford a decent flat with secured electricity supply. For most of them this is out of reach. For two more days the news say, the supply will be restored but when no agreement is to be reached the power-cuts will continue. Electricity here is a powerful thing to behold or to switch off.

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht.