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For underground electricity wires,CM asks Centre for funds

As the residents of the Walled City continue to live under the shadow of low-hung mesh of electricity wires,Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has reportedly asked the Union Ministry of Power to consider funding a project to move the overhead wires underground.

As the residents of the Walled City continue to live under the shadow of low-hung mesh of electricity wires,Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has reportedly asked the Union Ministry of Power to consider funding a project to move the overhead wires underground.

At the core of the project,which may cost Rs 1,000 crore,is the technology used extensively by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation — micro tunneling and trenching.

“The CM has asked the Central government to consider funding this project under the Accelerated Power Development Reforms Programme (APDRP). Under this programme,a project that aims at upgrading the current electricity infrastructure can be funded by the Central government,” Delhi Power Secretary Rajendra Kumar told Newsline.

Though the proposal for moving the wires underground has been around for over two years,the project always hit a roadblock when it came to funds.

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“The project was proposed first in 2005 and Chandni Chowk’s Member of Parliament Kapil Sibal tried to get the Urban Development Ministry to fund it,but things just kept getting delayed,” a senior official in Power department said.

Later,when the Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRC) was set up in May 2008,discom BSES spruced up its proposal and presented it to the body,set up as a special purpose vehicle for revamping the Walled City.

A senior official of the SRC told Newsline,“We have studied the BSES proposal,and have made two observations. One is the funding aspect. The project,if micro-tunneling is used,can cost above Rs 500 crore. We are not sure who will fund that. Secondly,since the lanes in that part of the city are very narrow,a detailed feasibility study needs to be done.”

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The SRC then forwarded its observation along with the proposal to the Power department. “Should the Central government agree to fund this project,then we will initiate not only a detailed feasibility study but also detailed budget estimates,” Kumar said.

There is,however,no time-line on when the Ministry of Power will respond to the Chief Minister’s request.

According to BSES,if the micro tunneling option is accepted the entire project could cost up to Rs 1,000 crore. The project,if cleared,will be implemented in phases with the Jama Masjid area assigned as Phase-I.

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“We anticipate that electrification of the entire Walled City could take anywhere between 2 and 3 years if we are given a go-ahead,” a discom official said.

First published on: 08-09-2009 at 11:58:43 pm
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