The Trinamul Congress-run Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) has taken up a project of developing a network of underground power cables in the city.
The project will be executed in association with the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL) with financial assistance from the World Bank. The estimated cost of the project is around Rs 550 crore.
Mayor Gautam Deb on Wednesday held a meeting on the project and Santanu Basu, the chairman and managing director of the WBSEDCL, was present virtually.
“Power cables will be laid underground for a distance of around 550km across Siliguri. In the first phase, around Rs 200 crore will be spent. There are plans to start the work after Durga Puja,” Deb told newspersons after the meeting.
Senior officials of theDarjeeling district administration, the SMC and the WBSEDCL were present at the meeting.
Sources said the civic body had conceived the plan to replace the overhead power cables with the underground network around six months back. “A survey has already been undertaken in the SMC area for the project,” said an official.
“Around 32,000 electric poles, which are in the city along with transformers, will be removed. Small transformers will replace the existing large transformers. The cabling will help in ensuring a steady power supply and the maintenance costs will be less,” said Deb.
The SMC had floated the tender for the first phase two weeks ago. The project cost, sources said, will be shared by the World Bank and the civic body on a 70:30 ratio.
Kamal Agarwal, the member-mayor-in-council (electrical), said: “Around 16 out of 47 wards will be covered by the first phase. The plan is to complete the first phase in 24 months.”
Some of the stretches which have been identified for the first phase are from Mahatma Gandhi Chowk to Safadar Hashmi Chowk along Hill Cart Road, from Safdar Hashmi Chowk to Baghajatin Park via Court More and from Collegepara to Children’s Park area.