Underground cabling sought for Salcete coastal villages
(PHOTO Captions: Creepers growing on the electricity wires and the street lights blocking the illumination and also providing a passage to crawling reptiles like snakes to disrupt the power supply near the Our Lady of Rosary Church, Navelim. ALL PHOTOS BY GARY AZAVEDO)
CARMONA: The power infrastructure in the Salcete coastal belt still lies in doldrums with the Rs 5.68 crores estimated proposal for the renovation of the existing power lines and improvement of the Low Tension (LT) distribution system of Varca, Orlim, Carmona and Cavelossim still awaiting the government sanction.
Cyclone Tauktae struck Goa leaving a trail of destruction specifically exposing the poor outdated power transmission network in the rural areas especially in the coastal villages of the Benaulim constituency as several houses were without power supply for four to five days.
Interestingly, the Power Minister Nilesh Cabral had toured all the villages in the Velim and Benaulim constituencies on Tuesday, February 2 and 16, respectively interacting with the local elected representatives regarding the power woes in their respective wards and assuring to rectify the same within a specified timeline of a week for minor issues of replacing damaged electricity poles and street lights whereas for major issues, Cabral had promised that these would be solved before March 31.
On March 3, the Chief Electrical Engineer (CEE) and Ex-officio Additional Secretary to the Government of Goa Raghuvir Keni had forwarded to the Finance (expenditure) department, Secretariat-Porvorim; Directorate of Accounts, Panjim; Senior Deputy Accounts General Audit, Porvorim; Joint Director of Accounts, Office of the Chief Electrical Engineer, Panjim; Superintending Engineer, Circle –I (South), Margao and Executive Engineer, Division XVI, Margao the estimate for the work of improvement of LT Distribution Network under the jurisdiction of Village Panchayats of Varca, Orlim, Carmona, and Cavelossim under Sub-Division-I, Benaulim, Electricity Division XVI, Margao.
Keni had stated, ‘administrative approval is hereby accorded to the “Estimate for the work of improvement of LT Distribution Network under the jurisdiction of Village Panchayats of Varca, Orlim, Carmona and Cavelossim under Sub-Division-I, Benaulim, Electricity Division XVI, Margao” at an estimated cost of Rs 5,68,91,965.The expenditure on the above work shall be debited to the following budget head: 4801 – capital Outlay on Power Projects, 05 – Transmission & Distribution, 800 – Other Expenditure, 22 – System Improvement Scheme (Plan), 53 – Major Works. This issues with the concurrence of Government through Hon’ble Minister (Power) vide order U.O. No. 2125 dated 23/02/2021.’
In a recent reminder sent to the Power Minister Cabral, the Carmona sarpanch Allwyn Jorge has stated, “First of all, we appreciate your support and help provided to this village concerning power supply. However, our various issues and grievances concerning the dilapidated infrastructure concerning power supply in our village has not been addressed by your office. The entire villages of Cavelossim, Carmona, Orlim and Varca are victims and always bear the brunt of constant breakdowns of the 33 KV power supply from Velim to Carmona sub-station. The entire network of 33 KV lines has to go underground as the overhead lines are at the mercy of the weather and trees. The time taken to change over the incoming 33 KV power supply from Benaulim sub-station takes a very long time and is often unreliable.”
“The power distribution system in all the villages of Benaulim constituency has outlived it’s life expectancy with every day faults of line snapping and poles crashing down. I had demanded at your Benaulim meeting that all villages in Benaulim constituency being coastal villages should be sanctioned underground cabling on a top priority basis. Your streetlight policy has failed to take off as proposed and so far your promise at Carmona to solve the issue by March 31 and also to provide a buffer stock of spare LEDs to the panchayat has not materialised. Shortage of line staff and overburdened junior engineers who are always busy tackling line faults has worsened the condition of maintenance of street lights. There is no proper maintenance schedule in place till date to repair non-working lights. Your visit to the various panchayats in Benaulim constituency was very encouraging but sadly today the ground reality has not changed other than finding solace in only reading the minutes of your last visit at our panchayat. It is suggested that a separate team is created solely for maintenance of street lights constituency wise as existing line staff are always pre occupied to attend to calls and attend line faults,” said Jorge.
“People are unable to communicate with local sub-station as their phone goes into a busy mode once a power failure occurs. A secondary mode of contact should be available for the people to get an update on the status of a power failure. As a sarpanch of the village, the people expect me to put up their grievances and suggestions to your officeto improve the power supply to this village Carmona and also to other villages in Benaulim constituency for which we await redressal of the same,” said Jorge.
Jorge further lamented that he ‘had sent a reminder to Cabral as no improvement or any changes have taken place since his last visit in the village and Benaulim constituency. The Rs 5.68 crore proposal files for renovation of the existing power lines in Cavelossim, Carmona, Orlim and Varca are still awaiting processing by the government. The Rs 5.68 crores estimated proposal for improvement of LT distribution system of Carmona, Cavelossim, Orlim and Varca are still awaiting processing for tendering and expenditure sanction by the government. This proposal at the behest of Carmona panchayat requires government fast tracking. Cabral during his tour of all the villages of Benaulim constituency had assured to solve their grievances concerning power supply and street lights. Houses in the Benaulim constituency have been left without power for four to five days after Cyclone Tauktae which exposes the poor power distribution network in the villages in Benaulim constituency.’