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Power in India restored after worst blackout in history

Power in India has reportedly been restored after what is believed to have been the worst blackout in history. An estimated 620 million people were left without power on Tuesday after a major system collapse.

India's Power Minister Veerappa Moily told reporters Wednesday morning that power had been fully restored across the country after the second major power collapse in as many days.

"It is a very difficult and challenging situation, and solutions will have to be found," Moily said, confirming that India's' electricity network was back at full capacity. He added that a government investigation into the crisis had been launched.

Tuesday's power failure left around half of India's population without power. Twenty of India's 28 states are believed to have been affected, with outages reported in several major cities including the capital Delhi.

According to Shailendre Dubey, an official at the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation, the northern and eastern grids went down at around 1 p.m. local time on Tuesday. The north-eastern grid then collapsed shortly afterwards.

Hundreds of miners were left trapped underground for hours in the eastern states of West Bengal and Jharkhand. In Delhi the metro system, which serves around 1.8 million people daily, was forced to ground to a halt causing chaos for the second day on a row.

On Monday, the country's northern grid collapsed for several hours, leaving cities across eight states without power. It was restored, albeit temporarily, later that evening.

The power failures have raised serious concern over India's outdated infrastructure. Senior officials said they may have been triggered by states drawing power beyond their allocated limits. Some analysts have dismissed this explanation, however, saying that if overdrawing power caused the collapse, it would happen all the time.

According to the business lobby group, the Confederation of Indian Industry, the two successive days of outages cost small and large business owners hundreds of millions of dollars.

ccp/sej (AFP, AP, Reuters)