World's Biggest Blackout Cripples India

For the second day in a row, massive blackouts have brought India's cities to a standstill as trains, traffic lights, and ATMs failed in New Delhi and throughout 14 states across the north and east of the country.
July 31, 2012, 11am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Today's blackout, double the size of yesterday's failure, has reportedly cut power to 600 million Indians - half of the country, and 1/10 of the global population. Reporting from New Delhi, Simon Denyer and Rama Lakshmi indicated that, "More than 500 trains came to a halt, and thousands of passengers were briefly trapped inside the capital's Metro line. There was gridlock on many streets of the capital as traffic lights stopped working. Bank ATMs also failed."

However, in a country used to power outages, airports, major industries, and those with means were able to switch to backup generators. A whopping 300 million Indians have no access to power to begin with.

According to Denyer and Lakshmi, "Indian industry leaders blamed the incident on a large and growing gap between electricity demand and supply, something that the government has failed to tackle despite repeated pledges to do so. Some senior government officials say reform of the power sector is the greatest challenge facing Asia's third-largest economy in the next few years."

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Published on Monday, July 30, 2012 in The Washington Post
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