Thursday, May 31, 2007

India on the march?

That's the meme these days. Meanwhile stories like this get lost in the scramble to proclaim India and China the new giants of commerce and technology. I just returned from Gurgaon where my new in-law Dr. Buxi and his family live. I know firsthand that the NYT article is quite true. Dr. Buxi and all of his neighbors simply couldn't function without their generators. They lose power every day. Similarly, the new malls and gleaming office buildings endure multiple daily power outages. In fact, only half the population of India is connected to the power grid, and within that half the grid can supply only 80 percent of demand. Meanwhile, diesel smoke blackens the sky as generators try to make up the shortfall. I'm not sure that planners ever heard of the cart-before-the-horse syndrome.