"The eastern grid collapsed at 1:00 PM. It is a catastrophic power disaster. There is no power in any district in the state," West Bengal Power Minister Manish Gupta said. About 17 to 18 states were affected by failure of grids, including the northern, Gupta said, adding in the eastern region, West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and Sikkim were affected.
On the reason for the failure, the minister said: "Such a catastrophe can happen in case of excess drawal of power illegally from the grid by a state." He said the Centre should ensure that states maintain discipline. Gupta said: "We are contacting the Eastern regional load dispatch centre. Power is likely to be restored gradually. We are keeping a watch on the situation which may partly improve by the evening. But, total restoration will take some time".
"We are restarting generation at the state-owned Bandel and Kolaghat power plants," he said, but it would take some more time to restart power in other plants. Train services were halted on Howrah, Sealdah, Asansol, Malda, Adra, Chakradharpur, Ranchi and Kharagpur divisions of Eastern and South Eastern railways. Gupta said that it would take some time to restore power supply to trains.
Meanwhile, it was reported that 46 of around 200 miners, who were trapped underground in three coal mines in Burdwan district, had been rescued. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier said that lifts were not operating due to power failures and hence they were facing problem in rescuing the miners.
Train services from Howrah and Sealdah, two main divisions, took a hit and several people were left stranded at various stations.