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'Mahavitaran' to lose Rs. 130 crores given by the centre

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
By Raju Vernekar

Cost of road-digging is more than the cost of cable-laying

Due to the alleged adamancy of local self bodies, including BMC, the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd 'Mahavitaran' is set to lose Rs. 130 crores given by the centre under the Integrated Power Development Project (IPDP) to improve power distribution network in Mumbai and neighboring areas.

As per the IPDP formulated in 2014, the funds are given by the union energy ministry to different states to carry out work such as: strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network, metering of distribution transformers / feeders / consumers in the urban areas, IT enablement of distribution sector and strengthening of distribution network, etc.

Under IPDS, towns having a population of over 15,000 are considered to ensure 24x7 power supply to consumers, reduction of AT&C losses and provision across all urban households. The Central Government will provide 60 per cent of the funds, while 10 per cent is to be borne by the state government and 30 per cent is the loan component to be obtained from banks and financial institutes.

As per the plan 'Mahavitaran' is supposed to set up 2 sub-centres (Mumbai and Thane), and one switching centre in Kalyan-Dombivli – to provide feeder pillars and lay high and low power cables in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivali, Panvel and Uran, for which it has already received Rs. 130 crore under IPDP.

'Mahavitaran' is expected to spend Rs. 15.10 crores in Mumbai, Rs. 6.93 crores in Navi Mumbai, Rs. 59.09 crores in Kalyan-Domivali, Rs. 6.33 crores in Panvel, Rs. 40.24 crores in Thane and Rs. 4.56 crores in the Uran Nagarparishad area to improve the power distribution network.

However, the cables cannot be laid unless charges are paid to the respective local body and its permission to dig out the roads is obtained. However, the cost of road-digging is much more. For example, the cost of road digging is Rs. 119 crores in Mumbai, compared to Rs. 59.09 crores that will be spent for laying cables and related work. In Navi Mumbai, the cost of road-digging is Rs. 26.47 crores, compared to Rs. 6.93 crores that will be spent for cable laying. In Kalyan-Dombivali the charges are nearly double, at Rs. 119 crores, as against Rs. 59.09 crores that will be spent for laying cables.

'Mahavitaran' has already urged these local bodies to reduce the cost of road-digging, But these bodies have not relented. Speaking to The Afternoon D & C, 'Mahavitaran' spokesman P. S. Patil said that 'Mahavitaran' has already written to these local bodies, but they have not responded. If the same situation continues, we will not be able to utilise funds in time and if it is not used, we will have to return them to the centre”.

In fact, in a meeting held on August 24, 2017, it was decided that the Urban Development Department should direct all local bodies to reduce the cost of cable laying or collect charges only to the extent of 20 per cent of the labour cost, or Rs. 100 per running mtr cable. Such a pattern is followed by the Nagpur Municipal Corporation. However the issue remains unresolved.

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