To reduce the unfortunate incidents of electrocution, due to no fencing of transformers or exposed wiring, Meghalaya Government has decided to go for 100 percent underground cabling in Shillong, Tura, and Jowai.
Power Minister James K Sangma while giving complete details said, “The underground cabling is something adopted by many countries abroad and isn’t a new concept as we have already completed underground cabling on a pilot basis in the Police Bazaar area.”
Aiming to complete the project before the 2023 Assembly election, “Overhead electric cable apart from being an eyesore is also risky, especially during the windy seasons the wires touch each other and cause short circuits leading to power failure and also pose risk to the public.”
The power Minister who also holds additional charge of Forest and Environment said, the power department has to periodically trim tree branches that grow near electric wires. “The power department officials have to take permission to cut these branches,” he informed, hinting to delay in work.
“We have decided that underground cabling is the solution. It reduces risk, improves the aesthetic look and the maintenance cost of such cables is also less,” he added.
The Government has also decided to replace the old wires with Aerial Bunch Cables in rural areas.
Asked he said, “All these will be under ADB Phase 2 programme.”
The AB cables will be insulated and hence mitigate almost all risk and reduce theft.
The ‘Renovation and Modernisation of Hydro Power project’ in the state is under process and will be completed in 6-8 months.
The power department would also “renovate and modernize” existing dams, some of which like the Umiam dam (1957,) need renovation.
He a preliminary study has been done which showed that the efficiency of these dams would improve with renovation.
“There is a need just not to improve the efficiency but it is also important from the point of view of safety that we need to renovate and modernize these dams as because we have done the preliminary study and have come to the realization that we can increase the generating capacity of some of these dams if we renovate and modernize them,” Sangma said.
“With this, we are undertaking renovation and modernization of old projects because these are an asset for us and an asset which can be scaled up,” he added. As the initial stage, the Government is renovating four damns
He stated that the government is also planning to upgrade 2,214 kilometers of distribution lines in the state to minimize losses and improve the efficiency of electricity transmission to the houses of consumers.
Claiming that previously not a single megawatt worth of solar power was produced in Meghalaya, the NPP leader Sangma said, “After the NPP – lead Government came to power, 90 megawatts worth of solar power has been sanctioned and initiated for the state.
“Focusing on more power generation, we will be adding 100 megawatts of solar generation in the next six months for which the tendering process is going on,” he said. “The government managed to bring in the ADB grant worth 132.8 million dollars for the state of Meghalaya to overcome its power-related issues,” he said.