How Did Coal-Rich India End Up With Power Blackouts? | The Nation

23 Aug

“If you work hard, and put your heart and soul into it, then you are allowed to steal some,” said Shivpal Singh Yadav, a minister for public works for India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh (UP). “But don’t be a bandit.” Caught on camera, Yadav’s words were replayed in newscasts across India on August 9, 2012, nine days after a power failure left half of India’s population—one-tenth of the planet’s people—without power. Among the Indian states that suffered the blackout, twice, was Yadav’s home state of UP.

A preliminary government investigation into the cause of the blackouts blamed “indiscipline of state electricity boards and faulty management by the northern grid operator Power Grid Corporation” for the blackouts. Yet two other simpler reasons, theft and climate change, should not be overlooked.

Theft and corruption have played a role in India’s power failures for decades. At every step in the supply chain, money is siphoned off via direct bribes or shortcuts.

So, the US financial industry isn’t the only center of corruption in the civilized world. Small comfort.

via How Did Coal-Rich India End Up With Power Blackouts? | The Nation.


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