Giant electricity cuts cast half of India into darkness—and highlight its lousy infrastructure.
ON JULY 31st passengers on Delhi’s metro, one of India’s spiffiest bits of infrastructure and a symbol of its modernisation, felt their trains grind to a halt, some of them deep beneath India’s capital. They had to be evacuated. It was just one drama across the north and east of the country, home to over 600m people, half India’s population, where successive power cuts struck on July 30th and July 31st. Coal miners were trapped; traffic signals went blank, creating epic snarl-ups; hospitals lost power. Firms without backup diesel generators just had to go without.
By August 1st the grid was sparking back to life. But the blackouts will have a lasting effect. The grit of most Indians was on display: they did not start looting or killing each other. So was the magisterial arrogance of their rulers: “…this is not something new to us,” said the chairman of Power Grid Corporation, the state-owned body that runs the power-transmission network. “The country is in safe hands.”