Summers could be less cruel for residents of Patna.
The much-awaited Sampatchak grid sub-station is likely to start operation by April. It would give a fillip to the power transmission system in the city and allow the power company to supply 160MW more power.
As a result, power cuts would be less frequent. Residents would be able to sleep peacefully at night in the comfort of an air-conditioned room without intermissions.
“The Sampatchak grid is ready. People will not face frequent power cuts during the peak season (May to August) this year,” said H.R. Pandey, deputy general manager (public relations), Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd.
He added: “The grid would start operations within a few days. It would improve the power supply to east and south Patna.”
If his assurances prove true, beating the heat this summer would not be a difficult endeavour. Around a lakh residents of places like Karbighaiya, Ram Krishna Puram, Sipara and Sampatchak, who had to endure two to three hours of power cuts everyday during summer last year, would benefit from this development.
Janmejay Kumar, a resident of Ashok Nagar Colony in the Kankerbagh area, said: “This is very good news. Till last year, we had to endure two-three hours of power cut everyday.”
The businessman added: “Hopefully, we shall be spared the horror this year.”
Promises, however, failed to convince everyone as some residents remained sceptical.
Alamganj Chowk resident Rameshwar Prasad Singh said: “Frequent power cuts are quite common in the area. We can’t rely on the tall claims of the Bihar State Power (Holding) Company officials until it translates into reality.”
The scepticism is not without reason. The relief has been late in coming. “The construction work was held up because of land acquisition problems,” said a senior power company official, who did not want to be named.
This is the second time that commissioning of the Sampatchak grid has been rescheduled. It was supposed to start functioning by December last year.
The chairman-cum-managing director of Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd, P.K. Rai, had visited the construction site in September last year and was displeased to see the tardy pace of work. “He asked the construction company concerned to expedite the work,” said the power company official.
At present, Patna has seven power grids of different capacities — Fatuha (150MVA), Khagaul (150MVA), Jakkanpur (170MVA), Digha (200MVA) and Mithapur, Gaighat and Katra (100MVA each).
The commissioning of the Digha grid sub-station, which started supplying power to western Patna on April 2 last year, was rescheduled four times. It was supposed to be functional by June 2011. Together, they supply around 500MW to the city.
During the peak season, Patna requires around 550-600MW everyday.
From the Centre, Bihar is supposed to receive 1,835MW. But it usually gets around 1,000-1,200MW. The state government also purchases around 300MW from the open market. Patna is provided around 450-500MW.
Problems in the distribution system — like faulty wires, dysfunctional transformers and low capacity of power grids — often hamper smooth power supply in the city. The Sampatchak grid would not only enhance the power supply capacity, it would also provide a cushion to the other grids. For instance, if one of the grids trip, it would not affect power supply in any major way.
Sources said the power company became eager to complete the construction of the grid after chief minister Nitish Kumar promised to strengthen the rickety transmission and distribution network in the state by setting up grid sub-stations, power sub-stations, laying of transmission and distribution lines and replacing 72,000km dilapidated wires across the state.
Gai Ghat resident Sanjay Kumar said: “The chief minister had promised that power supply would be better by the end of 2015 in the state, especially in Patna. So we are hopeful that the commissioning of the Sampatchak grid would improve the power situation.”