Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar on Monday said that load shedding and maintenance work, which the electricity department had undertaken on Sunday and Monday, would avert power interruptions in Tiswadi taluka during the monsoon.
Admitting to the negligence on the part of his department officials, he apologised to the people of the taluka for power outages and the shutdown that lasted for over 20 hours.
“I am extremely sorry for the inconvenience that was caused to the people. I assure that this won’t happen again as the maintenance work has perfectly been executed…. it will now avert all major power interruptions in Tiswadi,” Madkaikar said while speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’ over the phone from Delhi.
The power shutdown had been undertaken early Sunday morning, and the
department took almost 20-22 hours to restore the supply, causing hardship to the people of the taluka including parts of Panaji.
The power supply was restored on Monday morning at 4 30 am.
Madkaikar said that it was a major maintenance work of high-tension lines of 110kV transmission lines that come from Ponda to the Kadamba plateau, which is the only major feeder for electricity to the entire taluka.
“My department had given shutdown notice for undertaking the maintenance work. Accordingly, we had started our work at 6 am on Sunday morning, planning to complete it by 6 pm. But due to sudden lightning and rains the work had to be halted at around 4 pm. By the time rain and lightning subsided it was too dark for workers to continue with the work…,” he explained.
Madkaikar said that this work was outsourced to a Bangalore-based company, which found it difficult to complete the work within the limited time.
The two executive engineers of the department, who had been given responsibility to monitor the work, did nothing to arrange for alternate connectivity in case of delay in restoring power supply, he said.
“It is due to the negligence of the two EEs that we couldn’t prepare and execute the Plan B to fetch power from other substations and supply the same to the affected areas,” he said adding that the two EEs are new in the field and had no prior experience of the situation.
He said that an attempt had been made by the department to draw power from Porvorim and Ponda substations on rotation basis for Tiswadi. However, it was not 100 per cent successful.
“Around 80-odd workers were put on the job who worked till 5 am. They risked their lives and restored the power supply. I feel people should acknowledge their work and appreciate it,” he said.
Responding to the allegations that the work had been undertaken to facilitate two big housing projects, Madkaikar said, “We know what are we doing, and for whom. We cannot help any builders at the cost of government and the public. The people, who are alleging that the work had been undertaken to help the builders, are frustrated… I can understand their frustration as they had to suffer.”