Published: 30th March 2017
Sweating it out: Heat above 40 degrees, constant power outages make final exam season 'hell' for Hyderabad's students
Unscheduled power cuts in Hyderabad have become a major source of worry for students who have been sweating it out during this entire final exam season
If you thought travelling when it's over 40 degrees Celsius is difficult, try studying when it's that hot. Between the dry heat and frequent power cuts, students in Hyderabad who are cramming for their boards and final exams are literally sweating it out.
Residents have alleged that for the past 20-25 days — effectively the entire exam season — unscheduled power cuts of four to five hours are being imposed almost daily in various areas, including Azampura, Chandryangutta, Chadderghat, Hafiz Baba Nagar, Omar Colony, Gulshan Iqbal Colony, Old Malakpet, Dabeerpura and Falaknuma.
'Don't fake it'
Ask the officials at Telangana State Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (TSSPDCL) what the deal is and they refute the claims as "fake". Anand Thirumapally, Sub-Engineer of TSSPDCL said there had been no unscheduled outages in the area. The official also clarified that in cases of prolonged outage, on account of major maintenance works, they relay such information in leading newspapers for people to know.
These are minor everyday interruptions that last no more than 30 minutes maximum that is either caused by some problem in the feeder or to correct some maintenance issue. The power supply in Old city as per schedule
Anand Thirumapally, Sub-Engineer of TSSPDCL
Students appearing for their boards and other exams currently underway or soon to commence and their families, paint an entirely different picture. They claim that the untimely power outages are making it difficult for them to prepare for exams and thus, affecting their performance. "I had hoped to prepare well for my SSC exams but the power cuts made it difficult for me to focus during the crucial revision. A day before my Maths exams, there was a power cut for over three hours. I couldn't study properly and as a result, my exam was not that great," rued Shabnam Anwar, a resident of Hafiz Baba Nagar, one of the worst-hit areas of the Old City.
Burning out: A student studying under the candlelight
Stressed, sweaty and thirsty
In Sayed Irfan’s family of 18 members, four are students whose exams are ongoing. A resident of Azampura, where outages at night for a couple of hours is an almost daily affair, Irfan had to invest in an inverter. “I couldn’t bear to see my children studying in the heat and often in the dim emergency lights. So I invested in a single battery inverter that can power a couple of lights and fan when there is a power cut,” said the businessman.
It’s worth a mention that a part of the locality is in close vicinity of an open drain, and when there are power cuts, besides the heat, students have to brave the mosquitoes as well. With drinking water being supplied to the city every alternate day and at a scheduled time, it is a double whammy for the residents if the power cut coincides with the water supply timings.
Forced to leave homes
Farhad Aftab a student who is answering his class 12 CBSE boards, had to shift to a relative's house in Begumpet, where power cuts are not as erratic as in the Old City areas. Studies have established that when the temperature goes up, memory recall, absorption and retention take an immediate dip. Between the searing heat and the lack of ventilation when the power goes phut, it's a formula to stress children out that's working with deadly potency.
Now my exam centre is far from Begumpet and is spend more time commuting but at least am able to study peacefully without having to alter my timetable to suit the whims of power department
Farhad Aftab, A class 12 student
Amjed Ullah Khan, spokesperson of Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT), who has been receiving several complaints from the residents of Old City has on several occasions tweeted to IT minister KT Rama Rao and contacted CMD of the power Discom. "Despite all the assurances from the government that Old City will have uninterrupted power supply, it's the same story every year. It is surprising how as soon as there is a power cut, the officials also go off radar," he said. The activist also flayed the power department for not undertaking maintenance before the onset of summer.