BHUBANESWAR: Cyclone Fani that ravaged parts of the coastal districts has not only exposed the lack of preparedness of the State Government to face the post-calamity situation but also its failure to build a cyclone resilient infrastructure even after two decades of the Super Cyclone.
The much-hyped underground cabling system to provide uninterrupted, reliable and stable power supply to all classes of consumers, including public services in the geographical areas of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri is one such project under State Capital Region Improvement in Power System (SCRIPS) scheme which remained incomplete even after five years of launching.
The project, which was conceptualised after cyclone Phailin struck the southern coast of the State causing large-scale devastation to power infrastructure, was launched in 2015-16 with a five-year timeline for completion by 2019-20.
“Originally planned to be executed in two phases, the scheme underwent several changes after the Smart City project was implemented. The first phase project was scheduled to completed before August last year, but got delayed due to Wold Cup Hockey followed by General Elections to the Assembly and Lok Sabha,” said Chief General Manager, Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Limited (OPTCL) Nihar Pradhan.
Though it has been rescheduled to complete the project by June this year, it appears remote as construction of several smart grids are yet to be taken up within the City.
Claiming that more than 80 per cent of the project work has been completed, Pradhan said apart from pushing overhead 33 KV and 11 KV power lines to underground, six new gas insulated sub-stations (GIS) of 132 KV capacity and seven more 33/11 KV smart sub-stations will be constructed within the City limits keeping the future power demand in mind.
Attributing the hold up in construction of the new smart grid stations to the delay in identification of sites and allocation of land, Pradhan said 13 grid projects have been tendered and work on the same will be taken up as soon as physical handover of land is made to OPTCL, the Government agency executing the project through L&T.
Exuding confidence that the project will be over by October this year, Pradhan said cabling work near Satya Nagar and Mancheswar railway crossing could not be taken up due non-cooperation of East Coast Railway. Several reminders to the Railways for laying power cables under rail tracks at the two places have not yielded any results.
Once completed, the SCRIPS scheme will replace the existing radial connectivity in electrical network with ring connectivity to ensure uninterrupted power flow. Besides, power supply to household consumers in the City would be made on smart grid mode through supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) technology, he added.