THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Construction of power lines between Edamon and Kochi for completing the Tirunelveli-Madakkathara 400 kV transmission corridor is likely be delayed further with the preliminary surveys expected to start, at the earliest, only by September this year.
Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson will meet Collectors of four districts and officials of central transmission utility Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) this week to finalise details regarding the revised work schedules.
PGCIL is in charge of the construction of the 400 kV Tirunelveli-Madakkathara ‘power corridor’ which had been stalled on the Edamon-Kochi route for over five years owing to the protests by local land owners and farmers.
Drawn-out protests by landowners had been settled with the state government, controversially, and in an unprecedented decision, increasing the compensation amount phenomenally. The financial burden on the state government, consequently, rose from Rs 341 crore to a hefty Rs 1020 crore. The full burden of the compensation package will initially fall on the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), which is planning to obtain loans.
Later, the state government would cover this amount with grants to the KSEB. Survey of 30 kilometres is pending and PGCIL has also to re-negotiate with the contractor for fixing new work schedules, according to M Sivasankar, chairman and managing director, KSEB. “The government order (on the revised compensation package) was issued on July 30,” he said.
Apart from evacuating Kerala share of power from the Koodankulam nuclear power project (KKNPP) in southern Tamil Nadu, this transmission line will enhance the state’s capacity to draw power from sources outside the state by another 500 megawatts (MW).
Power lines had been drawn and commissioned on the Tirunelveli-Edamon stretch on June 25, 2010, and on the Kochi (Pallikkara)-Madakkathara stretch on December 1, 2011. But problems on the Edamon-Kochi route had stalled the project. Although the state government had announced a Rs 341 crore package in 2014, landowners and farmers had objected to it.
Following several rounds of discussions, the government had decided to enhance the compensation, increasing the government’s financial liability to Rs 1020 crore, this year.