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Cables to go underground
Project to cover 4 roads in phase-I

Bhubaneswar, May 28: To give city thoroughfares a cleaner and better look the state energy department will take up laying of underground power cables replacing the existing electric poles.

In the first phase, four major roads will be included in the project. While three originate from near the city airport, the fourth road begins from Ravi Talkies.

The four roads connect Old Airport Junction to Acharya Vihar, New Airport (Ekamra) Square to Nandankanan, Ekamra Square to Vani Vihar (via Sishu Bhavan Square) and Ravi Talkies to Rasulgarh Square. The collective length of all four roads will be around 50km.

The state-owned Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Limited (OPTCL) will execute the project in consultation with the Central Electricity Supply Utility (Cesu). While OPTCL is associated with installing power transmission lines, Cesu is a power distribution company of the state government.

The average cost of the underground cabling work will vary from Rs 1 crore to Rs 1.5 crore for a 1km stretch. In case of more service lines joining the main supply line on the road, the underground cabling will cost more. But in case of less density of electrical poles on the service lanes, the cost will be less.

Cesu superintending engineer Sukanta Kumar Swain said: “Underground cables will ensure better safety. The absence of overhead wire mess will also make the city aesthetically better. Already such work has been initiated in the holy city of Puri.’’

Sources in the energy department said that in Puri the underground cabling for power supply line has already been taken up. The job for a 16km stretch in Puri will cost Rs 18 crore. This will include the entire Badadanda or Grand Road and road to Lokanath temple and the one leading to the power grid near Talbania.

Keeping the rath yatra and safety of the people in mind, underground cabling work was planned in Puri. It is likely to be completed before the Nabakalebara of the Trinity in the Jagannath temple.

“In the state capital, we are going to do it for two major reasons. First, to make the city a cleaner and better place. Second, to provide security from natural calamities such as cyclones. It would also help in saving money as after the calamities crores were spent for restoring the damaged power supply line,’’ said OPTCL general manager (electrical) Nihar Pradhan.

Pradhan, who is also the nodal officer of the State Capital Region Improvement of Power Supply (Scrips) project, said besides the four major roads to be taken up in the first phase, the power transmission lines crossing the NH-5 in the city will also be converted to underground cables to ensure better safety for the people and the vehicles.

While the Cesu is preparing the detailed project report (DPR) for the underground cabling work in the city, OPTCL will execute the work as it has the expertise to install power transmission lines across the state.

Local resident Mrutyunjay Tripathy said: “Like Puri, during the rath yatra of Lord Lingaraj on Ashokastami the roadside electric poles pose serious problem in the Old Town area. All the important roads should be included in the underground cabling project of Scrips so that the city stretches become cleaner and safer.’’

Both Cesu and OPTCL officials said that the DPR would be ready by June-end and from mid-August work would get rolling. The underground cabling work is part of the Scrips project for which the government will invest around Rs 1,500 crore in phases.