Posted Tuesday, July 31, 2012, at 2:19 PM
A second day of blackouts has crippled India, depriving 600 million people of electricity and leaving half of the country in the dark.
The first outage was localized to northern India, and affected around 350 million people, but the second spread to eastern and northeastern regions, including the capital of New Delhi. At least 300 trains have been held up, and other important infrastructure has been impacted, leaving giant traffic jams and even coal miners stranded underground.
While power cuts are relatively common in the country, increased power demand has become more common lately. Farmers are using more irrigation in part because monsoon rains have been delayed, and people are increasing their use of air conditioning units. Observers have called on India, the third largest Asian economy, to update its infrastructure to meet growing power needs. After the latest blackouts, those calls will no doubt grow in volume and number.