Lakhs face power disruption in NCR as GRAP kicks in | Gurgaon News – Times of India

GURUGRAM/NOIDA: Lakhs of residents across the NCR cities neighbouring Delhi find themselves caught between the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority and the power discoms of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh as the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) that bans use of diesel gensets comes into effect from Thursday, without the guarantee of uninterrupted electricity supply.

The pollution watchdog, which is enforcing the ban for the second time in NCR, has refused to offer any relaxation, citing an entire year’s time that the discoms had to spruce up their distribution grids for round-theclock power supply, which is rare in the NCR cities because outages continue to be reported almost every day.
The problem isn’t with supply — more so this year with power demand slack as offices remain shut and industries are still below capacity because of lockdown — but with infrastructure. It is outdated and there hasn’t been enough urgency to upgrade it. In Gurugram, for instance, the ‘Smart Grid’ project launched five years ago to eliminate outages, has missed several deadlines and is far from completion. In Noida and Ghaziabad, too, the distribution grid remains vulnerable to snags.
Gurugram, Noida and Ghaziabad stare at dark nights
The consequence of the EPCA ban and UP and Haryana’s inability to stop outages will be borne by people living in cities like Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad, who are worried about major disruptions in both basic services — like elevators in housing societies — and critical services like using medical equipment at home. Disruptions in case of outages will be far bigger this year because most professionals are working from home and students are taking online classes in the wake of the pandemic.
In Gurugram, there are around 22 condominiums, housing at least one lakh residents, which are either partially or heavily dependent on gensets. Though residents have been living there for several years now, builders have either not paid their dues or fulfilled other norms for getting permanent connections, resulting in heavy reliance on power backup.
“Three of these societies run 100% on generators. We also have essential services such as elevators. Then there are senior citizens, many of whom are suffering from serious ailments. For such patients, medicines need to be stored at a certain temperature. Now that the winter is approaching, asthma cases will rise and people suffering from it will need to have nebulizer facility at home. All these things are dependent on seamless power supply,” said Sanjay Lal Mathur, a resident of one of Gurugram’s new sectors.
“Almost every day, generators are required to provide power connectivity when the grid supply is not there. How will basic essential services like lifts work if there is a complete ban on gensets?” asked Gaurav Prakash, another Gurugram resident.
Disruption in office work has become a major concern. “As it is, frequent power cuts make it difficult for us to work from home. And with diesel generators banned, things are only going to get worse. On one hand, the government is pushing for work from home and on the other, it cannot provide us the infrastructure we need,” said Kritika Singh, who lives in Sector 55.
People in Noida echoed these concerns. “A ban on gensets will have large-scale implications across the city. People in highrises can get stuck in lifts, common areas will be without lights and there could be emergency situations,” said Manish Kumar, vice-president of the Noida Extension Flat Owners’ Welfare Association.
V N Singh, the chief zonal engineer and Noida circle head of UPPCL, had no guarantees to offer against ‘local faults’. “There is no shortage of power here. We will ensure continuous supply. But if there are local problems, they will have to be resolved,” he said.
EPCA chairman Bhure Lal clarified that no exemptions had been issued to any NCR city so far. He said though the Haryana discom had informed the pollution watchdog on Wednesday that at least 22,000 residents would be without any electricity if gensets were banned, it did not ask for an exemption. “Our response was very clear. We asked them what they expected from the EPCA. So far, we have not received any response or a query regarding any exemption. As far as we are concerned, GRAP will be enforced as it had been directed earlier and they will have to make the necessary arrangements,” he added.

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