UK & World News

  • 13 June 2014, 9:10

India: Protests As Heatwave Sparks Blackouts

Angy protesters have clashed with police in India after the longest heatwave on record led to widespread blackouts.

Temperatures have hit 45C for six days in a row in New Delhi and the capital has been hit by staggered power cuts as energy companies ration supply.

Activists have said the heatwave has caused scores of deaths across India and sparked protests in New Delhi and the north of the country.

People staged sit-in demonstrations outside electricity substations in Uttar Pradesh, while others were torched and energy officials held hostage as the protests became violent.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was elected three weeks ago, campaigned on promises to provide reliable electricity supplies.

In the last week, much of New Delhi has been without power for 10 hours a day after soaring demand for air conditioning units and damage from a thunderstorm overwhelmed the grid.

The Centre of Holistic Development, a group working to end homelessness, said 79 bodies had been discovered in the capital in the last few days.

In a report last year, The World Bank warned that parts of India were becoming "heat islands" due to urban construction.

India's Centre for Science and Environment said the heatwave has triggered an increase in deadly ozone pollution in the capital, with levels rising to 315% since June 1.