Tardy pace of cabling adds to power supply woes in Odisha's Rourkela

Ironically, some prominent parts of the city were equipped with an underground cable ducting system a few years ago, but this infrastructure is yet to be utilised.
Image used for representation
Image used for representation Photo | AP

ROURKELA: Despite its transformation into a Smart City, Rourkela continues to face power disruptions due to the lack of a comprehensive underground cabling system. This issue is particularly pressing during natural disasters when power lines are frequently damaged.

Ironically, some prominent parts of the city were equipped with an underground cable ducting system a few years ago, but this infrastructure is yet to be utilised.

Sources informed that under the Smart City Phase 1 and 2 projects, major roads including the Rourkela main road from Panposh to Bisra square and 27 other road projects, totalling an additional 22 km, were prepared for underground cabling. This includes the Hanuman Vatika bypass, roads in the Civil Township locality, Mahtab Road, and several internal roads.

Reliable sources at Rourkela Smart City Ltd (RSCL) revealed that underground cabling was introduced in key areas to prevent future road digging post-improvement under the Smart City Mission. However, some planned areas were abandoned due to high costs and public dissatisfaction over prolonged roadwork inconveniences related to both underground cabling and the Integrated Sewerage System.

With over Rs 1,500 crore spent on infrastructure for the city’s co-hosting of the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup in January 2023, poor planning and financial management have been blamed for the incomplete cabling system.

Former president of the Rourkela Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Subrata Patnaik, emphasised that underground cabling has been a long-standing demand in Rourkela. The issue was raised with WESCO and later with TPWODL.

He said during his tenure as RCCI president at a meeting on August 16, 2022 the then TPWODL CEO G Kale in the presence of the incumbent Energy Minister Pratap Keshari Deb had committed to initiate underground cabling of power from November 2022, but that did not happen. He reiterated the demand to immediately ensure underground cabling of the power cables at the existing system and further demanded the Odisha government to create provision of underground cabling in rest of the city.

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