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Trade activities hit by blackout

The worst blackout in more than a decade following a breakdown of the Northern Power Grid in the early hours of July 30 severely hit business activities, and India Inc. called for immediate reform of the power sector. "The grid failure was extremely unfortunate, and it has impacted not just businesses but also essential services across north India," said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

A failure in the Northern Power Grid at 2.32 AM affected electricity supply to seven northern states, including Delhi. Officials said that the failure took place somewhere near Agra, tripping the entire system.

Power supply was hit in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Jammu and Kashmir.

The last time such a crisis took place was in 2001, when it took 16 hours to restore normal services.

While investigations are on to find the root cause for the incident, Banerjee said that the grid code notified by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) should be strictly implemented and violators penalised.

He said that to prevent such crisis in future, the government must push the reforms in the power sector and ensure adequate supply of coal to thermal plants.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) said that the blackout had 'severely impacted' business activities in the country.

Assocham Secretary General DS Rawat pointed out that power stations with a production capacity of 26,000MW were lying idle due to non-availability of coal.