Blackout in Bengal, trains stranded, Mamata appeals for calm
Kolkata, July 31 (IANS) Lakhs of people across West Bengal had a harrowing time as the state witnessed a total blackout triggered by the Eastern Power Grid's sudden collapse. The power outage also left thousands of passengers in several trains stranded.
The grid, which collapsed Tuesday afternoon, led to severe power outage in all the 18 districts of the state, Power Minister Manish Gupta said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered all government offices to declare a holiday for the rest of the day to enable the employees to go home and appealed to people to maintain calm.
"The Eastern Grid has collapsed... it is a big disaster. All 18 districts of the state are going to face power outage. We have started the repair work. But normalcy can't be restored before tonight as repair work will take at least 10-12 hours," Gupta told IANS.
According to Gupta, apart from some parts of Kolkata, there was no power anywhere in the state.
"The areas of Kolkata, which are under CESC, are having a normal situation. But apart from those areas, all the districts will be severely affected. We have asked the CESC officials to see that at least these areas of Kolkata don't face any power problem," said Gupta.
He said that several other states of eastern India such as Bihar and Jharkhand were affected.
Banerjee appealed to people not to panic and said more government busses will be plying across several parts of the state as the train services have been completely disrupted.
"We appeal to everybody not to panic. The repair work is going on at emergency basis. Normalcy will be restored as soon as possible. We had decided to declare a holiday for the rest of the day to enable the employees to go home safely," she said.
"We will ply more busses in districts where the train services have come to halt due to this disaster, so that common people can avail transport facilities," she said.
Banerjee said the Eastern Grid collapsed after the collapse of the Northern grid on Monday as these grids are interlinked.
"This disaster has not occurred due to our failure. Yesterday (Monday) the northern grid collapsed and today (Tuesday) eastern grid has collapsed as these grids are interlinked," she said.
Train services in South Eastern railway division and Eastern railway division were severely affected due to this power grid failure, bringing both long distance and local trains services to a total standstill.
"Thousands of passengers are stranded as train services in southeastern division has come to standstill due to the power breakdown. We can't run trains without electricity," said Soumitra Majumdar, chief PRO of the South Eastern Railway.
"Train services are severely hit due to this power failure. We hope that normalcy will be restored as early as possible," said Suchitto Kumar Das, divisional railway manager (DRM), Sealdah.
Several trains including Doon express and Kalka Mail have been cancelled.
According to Gupta, the problem was aggravated to a large extent due to the collapse of the Northern, North Eastern and Eastern Grids at the same time.
"All these grids have collapsed at the same time, so there is a no way that we can get power from other grids," he said.
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