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Boston-area residents try to reach family, friends in India amid crippling blackout

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  July 31, 2012 02:57 PM

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A Boston-area man is among those trying to reach family and friends in India, where half the country’s population – about 620 million people – were left without electricity Tuesday in the world's largest blackout.

Nihar Nanda, president of the Orissa Society of New England, said he has been unable to reach his sister, who lives in New Delhi with her family.

Since he learned of the outage, he has also tried unsuccessfully to reach several friends in the affected areas.

“I am concerned,” he said in a brief phone interview Tuesday afternoon. “It was really bad there from what I heard on the radio. Everything shut down.”

Nanda, a resident of Acton, said he last lived in India about 25 years ago.

“We never had this kind of outages that lasted days together,” he said.

Tuesday’s outage affected about twice the population of the United States, or about 10 percent of people in the world.

It came one day after a similar power failure left about 370 million people in India without electricity.

Even the smaller outage on Monday affected nearly four times as many people as were impacted in the world’s next largest blackout, which occurred in Indonesia in 2005, according to reports by the Associated Press.

The massive blackouts have raised serious concerns about outdated infrastructure coupled with a large appetite for energy consumption in the world’s second most populous country.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.
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