Overhead power cable-free Chennai by 2019

CHENNAI: Cyclone resilient Chennai is all set to become overhead power cable-free by 2019 — probably ahead of the general elections. With Centre’s Power Finance Corporation extending financial support of Rs 2,566 crore, the upgradation workof converting high tension and low tension lines will be done in a phased manner in neighbourhoods that faced the wrath of the December floods. The work has begun in DMK working president M K Stalin’s Kolathur assembly segment.

The minister’s response came in the wake of demands from legislators that the overhead lines posing problems must go underground. “The overhead cable conversion will be completed in two years in Chennai. Efforts are on to do that,” electricity minister P Thangamani said in the state assembly on Tuesday. The MLAs alleged that the intimidating overhead cables posed serious threats to the locals and called for immediate conversion. The problem was felt during cyclonic storms, when the damaged and uprooted electric posts delayed resumption of power supply.

Citing human and animal loss in Kolathur constituency due to electrocution and dangling transmission lines, Stalin recently urged the government to take up the issue seriously. “Kolathur continues to see such incidents. Government should protect human lives,” he said. On Tuesday, AIADMK MLA V N Ravi drew the attention of the house to the overhead power lines in the narrow streets of Indira Nagar in Virugambakkam. “We wish that the government takes up the conversion fast,” he said. Parts of Virugambakkam, including Natesan Nagar, Sai Nagar and Dasarathapuram await conversion.

Only 80% of the previous Chennai Corporation got underground cable due to persistent efforts made since 1996. The areas from the neighbouring Kancheepuram (61 wards) and Tiruvallur (32 wards) added to the corporation still need attention. “Only if the entire corporation limits are covered for underground cable, can we call it a greater Chennai,” said former mayor and Saidapet MLA M Subramanian. Kamaraj Nagar and Nehru Nagar in Saidapet still have overhead power cables. Tangedco officials said they have a blueprint for the conversion and are at it. “Transmission and distribution losses will be less in underground cable system. Mega cities go for it. We will also have two 230KV underground cable of transmission lines in North and South Chennai at a cost of Rs 750 crore,” Tangedco CMD M Saikumar told TOI. Transmission was severely hit during 2016 Vardah cyclone, when 30 transmission towers collapsed in the city suburbs.

On DMK MLA Durai Chandrasekaran’s query that the state must look into the coastal towns which faced the wrath of natural disasters, Thangamani said the government would take up conversion of high tension and low tension overhead lines into underground cables in Cuddalore, Nagappatinam and Velankanni towns. World Bank has sanctioned Rs 360 crore for the well-being of these cyclone prone coastal towns. Tenders are being finalized for 22KV Alpettai, Suthukulam and Pentasia feeders in Cuddalore town and 11KV Velankanni town feeder in Nagapattinam town. Tenders will be floated for 22KV Cuddalore New Town, Sellankuppam and part of Manjakuppam feeders in Cuddalore town and 11KV Nagore, Thonithurai and Velipalayam water works feeders in Nagappattinam.

TOI

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