Jyeshtha Krushna 14, Kaliyug Varsha 5114
Instead of cracking down on those who are indulged in Power theft, UP Government is taking incorrect measures to 'save power'. Government should also take proper steps to increase power generation in state which has abundant natural resources available with them !
Lucknow (UP) : For most urban residents, social life is virtually synonymous with malls. It's where they go to eat, drink, watch movies, hang out with friends or even enjoy some respite from the heat. But inhabitants of the bustling areas of Noida, Indirapuram and Ghaziabad, apart from other parts of Uttar Pradesh, are set to be plunged into the "dark ages" with the state government, which is battling a huge power shortfall, ordering all shops, malls and commercial establishments to shut at 7pm for the next 15 days.
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The labour department order, issued on Sunday, comes into effect from today. Medicine shops, multiplexes, single-screen cinemas and offices are exempt, but all other commercial activity is required to shut down after dark. This effectively pushes UP back by decades to the pre-liberalization era, when black-outs were common.
Restaurants will be required to close by 10pm. All other commercial establishments, including even neighbourhood kirana stores, will have to be shuttered by 7pm. The labour department has threatened strict action against commercial establishments flouting the order.
However, malls in Noida have already begun mulling alternatives to keep business ticking, even if means incurring extra costs. "A clear picture will emerge only after we receive the order. But evenings are peak hours in malls and we could use alternative sources of energy like gensets," said Vikas Tyagi, GM of Shopprix Mall in Noida's sector 62.
"We will harness power through diesel-run generators," said Archana Browne, VP (Sales and Marketing), GIP Mall in sector 37 of Noida. "Visitors' interests are of primary importance to us and we will not let them return dissatisfied," she added. "This is an impractical order.
In this heat, people venture out only in the evenings," said Shantanu Srivastava, manager of Phoenix Mall in Lucknow.
The order will be reviewed after a fortnight by when monsoon is likely to reach UP, providing some relief on the power front. Average per-day demand in the state soared to 12,000mw in June, 1,000 mw more than the previous peak demand.
Official sources said the order could be withdrawn if the rains arrive anytime over the next 15 days.
The Met office has predicted monsoon within a week.
The district administration of Gautam Budh Nagar is yet to receive the order, but is aware of it. "We did not receive the orders today as it is a Sunday. We are aware such an order has been passed and we expect to receive it on Monday. We will pass it on to malls and owners of commercial establishments immediately," said Atal Kumar, assistant labour commissioner, Gautam Budh Nagar.
The decision came a day after Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav admitted UP was facing a severe power crisis and blamed the previous government for it. He said power theft in the state had touched 40%.
Traders called the order anti-people. President of Adarsh Vyapar Mandal, Sanjay Gupta, said the government should instead try to generate more power. "But the state government appears to have failed on that front," Gupta said.
A senior labour department official said the demand for power was very high, resulting in repeated trippings. "We had to take some hard decisions," he said. Principal secretary, labour, Shailesh Krishna, said malls consume a lot of power. "There's a need for checks at times of crisis," Krishna told TOI. The department said the decision will help farmers who actually face the crisis.
Two days ago, the UP Power Corporation Limited had issued an advisory to all commercial establishments asking them to put off decorative lights after 9 pm. Government offices too had been asked to resort to power saving as much as possible.
However, all these steps appeared to have fallen flat following an unprecedented demand for power which has touched 12,000 mw. The state's own power generation, however, has been flickering with some of the plants facing shortage of coal, while other have been shutting down following snags. The crisis, quite often, has been causing a law and order problem in some of cities where heavy rostering had been resorted to by UPPCL.
Source : TOI
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