Overhead power lines, conductors, transformers, which are mostly several years old, are all contributing to power cuts that see a rise in frequency during summer months across the state and South Goa is no exception to it. Another thing that contributes to outages is overgrowth that is often left neglected.
Tree branches leaning on overhead lines and creepers entwining them are a common sight everywhere.
And despite instances of frequent power failures being well known before monsoon, the maintenance of electricity infrastructure gets a secondary treatment.
Further lack of proper fault-detection mechanism also adds to the overall shortcomings when it comes to maintenance of electricity infrastructure.
“We are fed up with outages. Power goes off regularly for hours. When the officials are asked about it, they say they do not have the required material for maintenance,” said Ivon Viegas of Curtorim.
Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar is on the record to state that for the past five years there was no maintenance carried out of transformers, conductors and other equipment and that his department now finds it difficult to cope up with the increasing connections and subsequent load on one side and old infrastructure on the other.
However, the power consumers claim that arrogance and apathy of the staff including the junior engineers is also responsible for pathetic power supply situation.
The minister is now banking on Rs 1700 crore, which he is expecting from the Centre in the form of grants and loans to improve the electricity infrastructure in the state, as the Rs 700 crore sanctioned by the state government for the power department has already been exhausted for works.
Sources revealed that the 220 KV sub-station in Cuncolim can be utilised to its optimum capacity to augment power supply in areas where there are electricity issues.
Also that replacement of conductors in Salcete areas can improve power supply, besides upgradation of Verna’s 110 KV sub-station to reduce load on other sub-stations.
“There will be improvement in the power supply in South Goa district as the overloaded Verna 110 KV sub-station will be upgraded to 220 KV. This will reduce burden on Ponda and Xeldem sub-stations. The project cost is around Rs 240 crore,” stated Neelkant Reddy, chief engineer of power department. He informed that the department is looking at meeting power demands for next 25 years with the upgradation.
He further explained that Cuncolim 220 KV sub-station will also be used to its capacity, for augmenting power supply to Velim, Navelim, Xeldem and Canacona and with this there would be no major issues in South Goa. He however denied claims that there are no proper equipment to detect faults in underground cabling system. “We have got one in works division XVI, which is in working condition,’’ he maintained.
The old lines are badly affecting residents of Curtorim, Macazana and St Jose de Areal, besides the coastal areas of Salcete. While the overloading problem is also an issue in Navelim and Velim constituencies, the delay in attending to complaint calls in areas where underground cables have been laid is also leaving people helpless.