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article image300 million people without power as the lights go out in N. India

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By Darren Weir     Jul 30, 2012 in World
New Delhi - A massive blackout in New Delhi and 7 northern states is the worst in a decade and highlights infrastructure problems in Asia's third largest economy.
The Times of India reports the power was out for 8 hours in the Indian capital and is slowly coming back across the rest of the region.
Reuters says people were left sweltering overnight with no air conditioning or fans, and then were left stranded at railway and metro stations as trains were cancelled. Traffic wasn't much better in Delhi where stop lights failed creating grid-lock in a city famous for its congested roads. Keshav Shah, who works 30 km outside the capital says, "I'm 45 minutes late for work. First, no power since 2 in the morning, then no water to take a shower and now the metro is delayed by 13 minutes after being stuck in traffic for half an hour." "As if I wasn't dreading Monday enough, this had to happen."
Hospitals and airports were forced to use emergency generators and authorities say restoring electricity to hospitals is their top priority. Airports say no flights were affected.
Reuters says Indian Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde blames the blackout on an incident near Agra which led to a power grid failure and the Times of India says a 3 member government panel has now been set up to look into the blackout.
About 60% of service had been restored by mid-morning and officials expect to have full service this afternoon. Shinde tried to put a positive spin on the situation saying, "It took four days to restore power in America ... our power grid is very good," referring to the blackout in the Eastern US and Canada in 2003.
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