Proceedings of the Maharashtra Assembly in Nagpur had to be cancelled for an entire day on July 6, when its power supply was cut following flooding of the building’s electric supply unit. The last time the Assembly proceedings were held up due to a power cut was in 1961. While the Maharashtra Assembly’s Monsoon Session is usually held in Mumbai, this time it is being held in Nagpur. On July 6, Nagpur received 263 mm of rain over just six hours.
R W Banait, PWD section engineer at Maharashtra Assembly, Nagpur speaks to The Indian Express.
1. How many people man the electric supply unit of the Assembly?
The transformer section is operated by power franchise Spanco Nagpur Discom Limited, while the switchgear section is controlled by the Public Works Department’s Electrical Division. Together, they have 50-odd personnel… A generator unit, comprising three generators of 320 kVA, 250 kVA and 125 kVA capacity, is always on standby. Two electrical firms have the contract for handling the operations and the maintenance of the units.
2. What all does this electric unit power?
It supplies power for over 2,200 lights, more than 100 ACs, 350 fans, 150 TVs, 200 listening monitors and 450 mics in the Legislature Council, Assembly hall and peripheral facilities. In addition, it also supplies power to party offices and eating joints housed within the premises.
3. What happened on July 6?
Rainwater from a road adjacent to the legislature building compound and situated at an elevation gushed in from a gate close to the transformer unit, and flooded first the transformer unit and then the switchgear one, where it rose up to about two feet. The authorities immediately switched off both the units. Not only could the water have caused a major accident but also rendered the entire machinery defunct.
4. What measures have you taken to prevent a similar situation?
Three-feet-high barricade walls have been erected at the entry points of the two sections to prevent flooding. Pumps have been kept ready to suck out water in case of any such eventuality. The concrete slabs with perforations, which had been placed over the stormwater drains, have since been replaced with iron grills, with large gaps to facilitate quick disposal of water through them. On July 6, the drains had been found clogged with solid waste, blocking the water flow. Besides, a fresh pipeline has been laid on the road adjoining the compound wall, with stormwater inlets to prevent water from entering the Legislature premises.
5. Are you taking other long-term measures?
A proposal has been prepared to shift the switchgear unit, where current is controlled and supplied to various sections inside the Legislature, to an upper floor. Authorities are hoping to finish the shifting before the next session, scheduled in December.