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Friday, June 18, 2021

Three days after cyclone, 1,400 villages and Pipavav port still without power in Gujarat

Pipavav is the only port in Gujarat that is yet to resume operations after the cyclone. According to preliminary assessment done by the Gujarat government, the damage suffered by Gujarat Pipavav Port Limited (GPPL) is estimated to be of Rs 150 crore.

Written by Avinash Nair , Gopal Kateshiya | Ahmedabad, Rajkot |
Updated: May 21, 2021 4:22:23 am
Women use fallen power lines to dry clothes in Rajula town of Amreli district on Wednesday. (Express)

Three days after cyclone Tauktae hit coastal Gujarat and uprooted towers of power transmission lines, around 1,400 villages, a private port at Pipavav and the Union Territory of Diu continued to be without power on Thursday even as Diu administration started supplying power to residents for limited hours by deploying diesel-fired power generator (DG) sets.

“There is a lot of damage to the power distribution network in Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar due to the cyclone. Many of the transmission towers have collapsed. Due to this, the sub-stations connected to these power distribution lines are not functional and therefore villages that fall under the sub-station currently have no power,” Shahmeena Husain, managing director of Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL), told The Indian Express.

More than 14 towers of high-tension line supplying power to Pipavav port and neighbouring villages collapsed or got uprooted when the cyclone made landfall at Una in neighbouring Gir Somnath district on Monday night. A major disruption to this 220 KV Dhokadva transmission line of Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation Limited (GETCO), the Gujarat government utility responsible for power generation and transmission in the state, also meant that the power supply to the Union territory region of Diu has remained disrupted since Monday. The Power Grid Corporation of India is also helping authorities in Gujarat to restore the electricity distribution network.

Pipavav is the only port in Gujarat that is yet to resume operations after the cyclone. According to preliminary assessment done by the Gujarat government, the damage suffered by Gujarat Pipavav Port Limited (GPPL) is estimated to be of Rs 150 crore. The losses include two tugs, “Divan” and “Mulji” that capsized.

Officials told The Indian Express on Thursday that the jetty at Pipavav will require minor repairs, while warehouses, godowns and container yard were also damaged. Due to lack of electricity, the cranes at the port and the refer container cannot function.

“A large number of trees have got uprooted in these districts that have forest cover. So our teams have not been able to reach these areas. This is a huge exercise we are carrying out from the power transmission point of view. These are very difficult areas even for the distribution companies,” Husain said.

GUVNL coordinates and facilitates the activities of six subsidiary companies involved in power generation, transmission and distribution, including GETCO and Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited (PGVCL). The PGVCL supplies power to this region and the rest of Saurashtra and Kutch.

Initially, around 5,700 villages in Saurashtra region suffered power outage as the cyclone hit the coast.

“In Saurashtra there are 12 districts and by now, we have fully restored power in nine districts. Other than Amreli and Bhavnagar which were completely devastated by the cyclone, we have made essential services operational. Initially, 5,700 villages were affected on the first day of cyclone. In two-and-half days since, we have restored power in more than 4,000 villages. Yesterday, we restored power in some 700 villages and now only around 1,200 are left,” Shweta Teotia, managing director of PGVCL, said.

An official release from the PGVCL on Thursday evening stated that 1,397 villages were still without power. It further stated that the cyclone had affected an estimated 6,036 feeders but 3,660 of them have since been restored.

The PGVCL MD said that these villages fall in Kodinar and Una talukas of Gir Somnath, Jafrabad, Rajula, Dhari and Savarkundla talukas of Amreli and Una, Mahuva and Talaja talukas of Bhavnagar district on Saurashtra coast.

Teotia said that while GETCO is working to restore its 220 KV Dhokadva sub-station, which makes power available to PGVCL for distribution in these areas and Diu, PGVCL is simultaneously resurrecting and re-erecting its distribution network. “We have to be prepared that as soon as GETCO does their work, we will be able to give power to the people, that much we are confident,” Teotia said.

The MD added that in some places, PGVCL network has sustained up to 90 per cent damage. “We are assessing the damage. In some areas, the damage is 90 per cent. So, we have to re-erect the entire network,” said Teotia. The PGVCL release said that 76, 987 poles were damaged by the cyclone. Of them, 1,433 have been repaired, while work is on to replace 75,554.

With restoration of grid power likely to take some time, Diu administration on Wednesday deployed DG sets for households. Diu collector Saloni Roy told The Indian Express that the UT administration had mobilised 30 DG gets before the cyclone and deployed some of them in three hospitals, government offices and communication towers as backup.

“We are dependent on Gujarat for power but the grid has not been restored yet. Therefore, we have deployed eight to 10 DG sets, which were on go, to supply power to households for an hour in rotation,” Roy said.

The collector added that there are 138 transformers in Diu and the DG sets are feeding power to these transformers for an hour in rotation. She also added that some DG sets have been given to the Public Works Department of Diu so that it can supply water to households.

Mobile phone networks were restored in Una and Diu on Wednesday after telecom companies got power backup. “In all government establishments, we have opened mobile charging points so that people can charge their phones,” Roy added.

With no power in onion dehydration plants and cold storage plants in Mahuva, the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) wrote a letter to the PGVCL MD requesting that power to these plants be restored on priority basis, else plant owners and lakhs of people connected with the industry would suffer huge losses. “There are 125 onion dehydration plants and 40 cold storages in area around Mahuva taluka. Dehydration plants manufacture and mainly export onion flakes (sic) and garlic powder. But power supply to these plants has remained disrupted due to the cyclone,” GCCI president Natubhai Patel wrote in the letter.

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