“Till last week, there was severe shortage of power. The situation has eased considerably and we hope Kali Puja goes hassle free. We are generating between 2,400 and 2,500 MW of power now and since the supply of coal has improved, the power situation during Kali Puja will be better,” said P K Chakrabarty, director, HR, West Bengal Power Development Corporation Limited.
The power situation had worsened recently when the Eastern Coalfields reportedly reduced the supply of coal to WBPDCL on the issue of unpaid bills the latter owed to the former.
A WBPDCL official said that since the payment of Rs 80 crore, ECL has been supplying around five of the 13 rakes of coal needed by the company.
Owing to the increased supply of coal, many WBPDCL units which had been shut down earlier or were under performing are now working at par with other units, said the official.
“Factories and institutions are major consumers of power. Since they are close on account of the festive season, we should be able to meet the power demand comfortably,” said Chakrabarty.
Senior CESC officials maintain that with a high generation of power, the two days of Diwali festivities are expected to pass without any glitch.
“The power demand was around 1,500 MW during peak hours on Friday. In the last few days, the demand has fluctuated from 830 MW at night to 1,500 MW between 6.30 am and 10.30 pm. Furthermore, with Unit III at Budge Budge performing well, the power position seems healthy,” said a senior CESC official.
Rains will not play spoilsport this time
If predictions of the Met department and promises of the state power department stand true, Kolkatans can look forward to celebrating Kali Puja without rainfall or power interruption.
Officials with the Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) in Kolkata predict no major deviation in weather pattern and assert that the dreaded depression, which was a concern during Durga Puja, has fizzled away.
“There will be no major deviation in weather pattern and we expect dry weather during Kali Puja. The cyclonic circulation and low pressure trough has moved away,” said G C Debnath, director, RMC in Alipore.
Even as humidity is expected to fall, weather officials predict no rainfall in the next 48 hours. “The low pressure trough has cleared slowly. Monsoon clouds usually depart from south Bengal between October 8 and 15. This year, too, the story was no different,” said Debnath.
This comes as pleasant news for city residents who celebrated Durga puja amid intermittent powercuts and rain.
“Durga Puja celebrations were dampened by fears of rain in some parts of the city. We pray the weather stays clear during Diwali,” said Malini Chatterjee, a resident of Salt Lake.
A weather expert added: “With the low pressure area over east central Bay of Bengal and the neighbourhood areas becoming less marked, we expect dry weather in the near future. Durga Puja was celebrated at a time when the city saw unpredictable rainfall and heavy showers lash parts of Bengal.”