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Bihar snag adds to state power woe

- Storm-hit transmission lines restored, but demand-supply mismatch mounts

Ranchi, May 4: The season’s third Nor’wester may have dragged down temperatures across Jharkhand to the bearable 30s, but the power supply situation has both good and bad news.

The good news is that Jharkhand Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd has said all transmission lines damaged by yesterday’s rain and storm have been repaired. The bad news is that it may take some time to operate your fans, air-conditioners and water pumps normally.

“We have repaired all transmission lines within the state,” C.D. Kumar, member (distribution) of Jharkhand Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd, claimed. “Citizens are seeing significant improvement in power supply from tonight.”

But figures released by Eastern Load Despatch Centre today indicated that against a normal power demand of 1,050MW-plus, generation is a mere 292MW, with Jharkhand drawing around 340MW from the central pool and DVC chipping in with an additional 100MW. A deficit of over 250MW has remained.

Over the weekend, long and intermittent blackouts across most parts of the state, including capital Ranchi, bared two sets of challenges for Jharkhand Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd. The first was repairing transmission lines within the state damaged by uprooted trees and storm, which took a little over 24 hours to do.

The tougher one is rectifying faults in the main transmission line crossing Bihar Sharif near Patna in Bihar, detected a week ago.

The Bihar glitch has no relation to the state’s Nor’wester yesterday, but taken together with the damage caused by the storm, it crippled power supply in 14 districts under Jharkhand Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd, for most of the weekend.

Glitches in Bihar Sharif — since unified Bihar days, 75km of the 126km network fall in Bihar as lines from Bokaro go to Bihar Sharif and Bodh Gaya and enter Jharkhand through Koderma to join Patratu — forced Tenughat Vidyut Nigam Ltd (TVNL) in Lalpania, Bokaro, to shut down immediately last week.

Now, the two TVNL units, capable of generating upto 420MW, are running. But their generation is scaled down to under 300MW, keeping in mind main transmission lines are not repaired and others can’t withstand the full load.

“TVNL, capable of generating 420MW, is now forced to restrict itself between 220-300MW. To run our two units to full capacity, it is vital that main transmission lines via Bihar Sharif and Bodh Gaya in Bihar that link TVNL to the rest of Jharkhand are in working condition,” Lalpania-based Ram Avtar Sahu, TVNL general manager, said.

Kumar, member (distribution) of Jharkhand Urja Vikas Nigam, said they were in constant touch with Bihar counterparts and were doing all they jointly could. “At the same time, steps have been taken to reduce our dependence on Bihar by laying new transmission lines and setting up substations,” he claimed.

On the quick repairs of Nor’wester-hit transmission lines across the state, he said: “Our men were on the job constantly after yesterday’s rain and gale winds disrupted transmission lines.”

The repairs better withstand another storm.

After pleasant weather today, the Met office has forecast the possibility of rain and thundershowers in Ranchi, Jamshedpur and some other parts of the state tomorrow again. Temperatures will stay around 36C (day) and 22C (night) in Ranchi and 39C (day) and 27C (night) in Jamshedpur.