A massive dust storm — attributed to western disturbances, currently over Pakistan — brought life to a halt in the national capital during the evening rush-hour on Friday. Nine people were reported killed across the city.
With winds measuring up to 114 km/hour, massive trees uprooted across at least 50 spots in the city, having a cascading effect on air and road traffic.
The winds also brought damage to the 100-year-old wooden core of the brass finial of Humayun’s Tomb, a UN heritage structure.
Archaeologists have already drawn up a restoration plan and are expected to repair the damaged portion by the end of next month.
“Senior ASI officials visited the site to inspect the damage. Starting tomorrow, we will first put up a scaffolding to restore the lightning conductor and position it at the top of the dome. We will then seek matching wooden support and fix it to prevent water ingress,” Ratish Nanda, projects director, Agha Khan Trust for Culture, told Newsline.
Power outages were reported across the city due to local disruptions in the power lines attributed to the falling trees. Transmission lines at power generation plants tripped, affecting a load of up to 3,000 MW.
This, in turn, disrupted operations across all water treatment plants in the city, curtailing water production by 30 per cent on Friday evening.
“No damage has been reported at the water treatment plants due to the storm. Due to the long disruption in power supply at all Water Treatment Plants, about 25-30 per cent production is lost and morning supply in the city will be affected. It will be available at low pressure,” a Delhi Jal Board spokesperson said.
Metro services too were disrupted on almost all lines for about an hour due to power failure, leaving thousands of people stranded inside and outside Metro stations during the rush hour.
The evacuation paraphernalia of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority was put on standby to evacuate people if the power supply was not restored within an hour. “We were closely monitoring the power supply situation on the Metro lines. Evacuation procedures would have to be launched if the supply was not restored within an hour,” DDMA chairperson Dharampal said.
Power discoms BSES Rajdhani, BSES Yamuna and NDPL reported massive outages from their respective areas. “Due to the enormity of damages including uprooting of the trees, falling of transmission lines the restoration work by Delhi Transco Limited is getting affected and could take another 12 hours. Due to this, major parts of Delhi are facing power cuts,” a spokesperson for the discoms said.