State Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule on Thursday hit out strongly at the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), accusing the civic body of ‘creating obstacles’ in the power utility’s infrastructure-related works. “Barring PMC, all the municipal commissioners have been supportive of the MSEDCL’s Infrastructure -2 works,” Bawankule told media persons after a two-hour meeting with elected representatives from the city and district.
The basic objective of the infrastructure plan project includes providing reliable power supply and meeting the load growth demand. Majority of the Infrastructure -2 project work involves laying of underground cables. With the PMC refusing permission to dig the roads, the power utility has been unable to undertake the work.
Bawankule said a majority of the elected representatives from Pune city had complained about the lack of support from Municipal Commissioner Kunal Kumar. “Now, even I have started to believe that this could be true, as the power utility has allocated Rs 750 crore to dig roads, lay pipelines and even capture the entire process on video,” said Bawankule.
BJP legislator Medha Kulkarni said the PMC’s “high charges” for digging roads to lay cables were creating hurdles in the way of ensuring a proper infrastructure to provide power supply within the city.
“The PMC charges Rs 2,450 per metre of road digging and that is too high. The state has sanctioned Rs 750 crore for improving infrastructure for power supply in the city, but the steep charges levelled by the civic body would lead to Rs 250 crore being paid as digging charges alone,” said Kulkarni.
She pointed out that laying underground cables would help check power thefts and leakage. The energy minister, who was in Pune on Thursday, said a total amount of Rs 1,260 crore was allocated for Infrastructure- 2 related works and other projects, while work to the tune of Rs 800 crore has been completed.