Long power cuts accompanied by frequent voltage fluctuations are taking a toll on industrial units in the National Capital Region. According to a recent report by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, a number of industrial units, particularly small and medium enterprises, located in Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Bahadurgarh and Sonepat are on the verge of closure due to non-availability of power. The apex industry body estimates that industries based in the NCR had lost 50 percent of their planned production during the last two months due to disruptions in power supply. The fall in production may reach 60 percent in the coming days thereby severely impacting the competitiveness of the SME sector unless suitable measures are initiated immediately to improve power supply to the region.
ASSOCHAM has mooted a proposal for the formation of a unified power authority for the NCR to bring uniformity in power supply and tariff within the region. It has also called for strengthening of the power distribution infrastructure in areas where industrial units are located. “There is no doubt that the productivity of micro, small and medium enterprises in the NCR have got adversely affected due to long power outages,” Neeraj Singhal, Divisional Chairman, Indian Industries Association – Ghaziabad Chapter, told Projectmonitor.
“Industries pay wages to their workers for 8 to 10 hours of work in a day. Therefore, if there is a power cut of five hours during the working hours, productivity definitely gets affected. Micro industries cannot afford to install generators due to their small scale. Most of the small enterprises also cannot afford generators because of cut throat competition. Medium scale industries with a workforce of 25 to 30 people have no option but to install generators as workers cannot be kept idle during power outages. Usage of generators, however, increases the cost of production. Some micro industries in Ghaziabad have temporarily suspended their operations because of non-availability of power. These will reopen once the monsoon sets in and the power supply improves. It must be kept in mind though that besides lack of power, the economic slowdown has also impacted MSMEs,” he added. The IIA is a representative body of micro, small and medium enterprises.
At present, industrial units based in Gurgaon sometimes have to face 12 to15 hours of power cuts in a day. The demand for power in the industrial areas stands at 1,600 MW against the availability of 1,400 MW. Other than industrial units, BPOs, KPOs and the services sector are also experiencing operational difficulties due to the power crisis.
In Ghaziabad, the power situation is no better with industries reeling under 12 to 15 hour-long power outages on a daily basis and depending on diesel generator sets for operations. ASSOCHAM claims that around 3,000 industrialists including many micro, small and medium enterprises have already packed up because of the grim power situation.
Heavy industries in Faridabad have been relying on their captive power units to stay afloat but the availability of power is still far below the actual requirement. The industrial loss in the region could go beyond 60 percent.In Noida, the estimated power shortage is between 300 to 600 MW. Some of the worst hit sectors are small scale industries, engineering and spare parts units, export houses, BPOs, call centers and media offices.