Grid collapse hits eastern region

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The eastern, northern and northeastern regional grids collapsed on Tuesday resulting in an unprecedented situation with power snapped in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam and Sikkim.

The grid failure severely affected train services in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Assam inconveniencing lakhs of suburban and long-distance passengers.

The West Bengal government declared a holiday in its offices after 3:00 PM to enable employees to return home early, especially those who commute by train.

Metro Rail services in Kolkata and the N S C Bose International Airport were, however, normal. Around 200 miners were stuck in four underground mines of ECL in Burdwan district, but were being evacuated with restoration of power, ECL sources said.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said it might take 10 to 12 hours for restoration of normal power supply and that transport arrangements were being made for people to return home by bus and lorry.

"The eastern grid collapsed at 1:00 PM. It is a catastrophic power disaster. There is no power in any district in the state," Power Minister Manish Gupta said.

On the reason for the failure, the minister said, "Such a catastrophe can happen in case of excess drawal of power illegally from the grid by a state." He said the Central government should ensure that states maintained discipline.

"We are restarting generation at the state-owned Bandel and Kolaghat power plants," he said, adding it will take some more time to restart power in other plants. In Bihar, state capital Patna went totally without power and work was paralysed at the secretariat.

Officials worked using lamps and emergency set ups. East Central Railway (ECR) Chief Public Relations Officer Amitabh Prabhakar told PTI that more than 30 trains, including 18 mail and express and over 48 goods trains were stranded at various places since 1:00 PM.

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