Provincial President National Conference and MLA Nagrota Devender Singh Rana today sought CBI enquiry into the implementation of APRDP through IRCON in Jammu, saying the use of substandard material and non-adherence to specifications have put power-distribution in the capital city haywire with just one windstorm.
“The Tuesday night high speed winds dismantled the much touted new power distribution system under the APRDP, financed by the Government of India,”, Rana said, adding that a thorough inquiry alone will dig out the lapses and loopholes so that responsibility can be fixed.
He urged the Government to initiate the process for CBI inquiry at the earliest so that the guilty, who have fleeced the exchequer, are punished and the wrongs committed are set right.
“This is imperative, as the people of Jammu have been held to ransom by unscrupulous agencies, responsible for implementation of the programme and the executing agencies can be held accountable”, he maintained.
Rana also urged the Government to release compensation to the people hit by windstorm across the region, especially in Nagrota Assembly Constituency, which left two persons dead there due to wall collapse.
The Provincial President stressed the need for bringing windstorm damages under the ambit of State Disaster Relief Fund, so that the sufferers can be compensated adequately. “Since damages caused to windstorm are not covered under SDRF, the sufferers are left to fend for themselves”, he said and hoped that the State Government will take up this important issue with the National Disaster Management Authority earnestly so that relief gets distributed immediately.
He also sought formulation of a contingency plan to meet the situations arising in the wake of torrential monsoon rains and high speed winds in coming days and urged the Government to set up control rooms with necessary wherewithal at tehsil levels so that administration is not found wanting when the people will be in real need of help and assistance.
The provincial president sought identification of vulnerable areas across the Jammu region and devising necessary mechanism to reach out to the people in distress in minimum possible time.
Referring to Tuesday night devastation in Nagrota Assembly Constituency, the MLA sought immediate restoration of roads and regulated power and water supply. “The areas which are suffering from water scarcity need to be covered by tanker services”, he added.
He urged the district administration to come out with details with regard to measures taken for mitigating difficulties of suffering people in Nagrota.
IRCON abandons cable laying after protests
Following complaints and protests, IRCON International Limited has stopped work of laying aerial bunched cables in many areas.
The company, which is implementing the Restructured Accelerated Power Development Reforms Programme to improve the power distribution network, is in line of fire as poles, transformers and accompanying infrastructure had collapsed during the testing phase.
People of Mohinder Nagar, Talab Tillo, Channi Himmat and Buta Nagar have alleged that the contractors engaged by the company were high-handed and were carrying out the work in an unprofessional manner without giving any regard to quality. They fear this could lead to big disasters, and had protested.
“About three months back during the installation of a transformer, the pole collapsed injuring a labourer and since then the work has been abandoned. We lodged our protest after which an official told us they would replace the poles. Since then, nothing was heard of them,” said US Rahi, a resident of Talab Tillo and general secretary of the respective mohalla welfare committee.Special power cables having plastic covering are being laid by companies to lower transmission and distribution losses. Under the bunch cable technology, existing wires are being replaced with heavy-duty plastic-covered wires, which will prevent hooking by consumers.
“The project was to be supervised by specialised engineers but the company sublet the work to local contractors which is the main reason for problems. Power cables and switchboards used are of inferior quality, leading to frequent fires in cables,” claimed a senior official in the Power Development Department (PDD).
However, there are some allegations against the field staff of the PDD that they were charging money in case of fault in new power wires installed by the department.The problem is mainly in Gandhi Nagar, Shastri Nagar and adjoining areas as consumers allege that in case people refuse to pay, maintenance workers threaten to snap connections.
“PDD staff says they have nothing to do with power cables and transformers installed by IRCON. It’s highly confusing and consumers are being taken for a ride,” said Surinder Dutta, a resident of Gandhi Nagar.
J&L Speaker Mr.Kavinder Gupta reviews progress of R-APDRP works in Jammu
Speaker Legislative Assembly Kavinder Gupta today reviewed the progress of Restructured Accelerated Power Development Reforms Programme (RAPDRP) works in Jammu city being executed by IRCON International Limited – a Government of India Undertaking.
Chairing a meeting of Power Development Department engineers PDD and representatives of Ircon, the speaker had thorough review of the status and progress of works undertaken to strengthen the power distribution system in the Jammu city.
Superintendent Engineer EM&RE Sunil Gupta, XEN Arvind Chibber, AEE Sanjeev Rometra, General Manager/ Electrical IRCON International Limited Rajendra Kumar Choudhary, other senior officers attended the meeting.
Kavinder Gupta directed the executing agency to gear up men and machinery for timely completion of the prestigious project.
Showing serious concern over the pace of work under the project, Kavinder Gupta said that the work of erection of poles is very slow and it need to be speeded up to improve the power scenario in Jammu city . He also directed the executing agency to ensure quality work and immediate restoration of dug up roads. General Managar, IRCON told the Speaker that the work is delaying due to shortfall in supply of PCC Poles. However, he said that company has now ordered the same from outside the state.
The Speaker also asked the Power Development department to maintain smooth supply of power in the city so that people may not suffer in the prevailing hot conditions. He called for close check on the power pilferage, which lead to damage to the distribution transformers. He also asked them to ensure replacement of damaged transformers within shortest possible time.
Pertinently, as a part of Reforms in the Power Sector, Government of India has launched the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP) as a Central sector scheme. The focus of the project is on the actual demonstrable performance in terms of AT&C loss reduction, establishment of the reliable and automated sustainable systems for collection of base line data, adoption of information technology in the areas of energy accounting, consumer care and strengthening of Distribution network of State Power Utilities. The scheme also envisages establishment of supervisory control & data acquisition system/ distribution management system in large towns, capacity building, incentive scheme for distribution personnel etc.