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Can the Metro depend on government-run BESCOM?

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Metro Rail

Metro services on the recently inaugurated Peenya section were disrupted for over an hour on Sunday afternoon following a power failure.

According to officials of the energy utility BESCOM, there was a fault in the line between the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) receiving station in Peenya and the BESCOM network. Power was restored in approximately an hour’s time, an official said.

KPTCL procures power from the generators and transmits it onwards to the ESCOM utilities for further distribution. Last year, in April, a power failure had halted Metro services on the Byappanahalli-MG Road line for around 13 minutes. BMRCL had then stated that the disruption was caused due to a power failure at the Hoody 400 kV and HAL 220 kV power stations. In this instance, however, one train was stranded in midsection near Ulsoor, while another one was held up at the Indiranagar Up platform.


For the full report in the New Indian Express, click here.

Metro has been provided dedicated feeders by BESCOM, and consequently, it will not be faced with the kind of frequent power interruptions/ load-shedding that the aam Bangalorean is facing today, which is only going to get worse as the summer progresses.

Now, it's not as if there isn't enough generating capacity in the country to take care of its present needs. But, a large part of it is idling because many of the government-run utilities (DISCOMS) are choosing to buy only a part of their requiremments from the generators, just enough to keep the show going, since the more power they buy, the deeper into red their finances go. This is because they are not in a position to negotiate the required tariff increases, corresponding to the rate increases of the generators, with the respective state 'regulatory' bodies, because of interference by politicians, who are more bothered about keeping their pseudo-socialist consumer lobbies happy, with the eye on their vote-banks ( in the process, the genset, UPS, inverter, converter, torches, candles, match-sticks, etc industry, all in the private sector, is merrily laughing its way to the banks, is something that the pseudo-socialists would conveniently choose to look the away from ).

Apart from this is the non-clearance of farmer subsidies in thousands of crores, for months on end, by the respective state governments.

All in all, the DISCOMS are plain broke, with funds available barely enough to meet their day to day operations, leave aside any talk of system improvement/ upgradation/ modernisation.

This is more or less what Mr Manivannan, the erstwhile MD of BESCOM, meant when he said, as seen here, in his address to the FKCCI. The position being what it is, it will not be too far in the future when BESCOM starts faltering, as badly as in its supplies to the aam citizen, in its supply to Metro too.

Perhaps, this was one added reason why the erstwhile Sheela Dikshit government privatised the power supply in Delhi. And, what a transformation it has been, with the losses steadily reducing to less than 15% (from the earlier 55% odd), leading eventually to the present system reliability of 99.9%, and all of it at tariff levels comparable to those of BESCOM (but, for much poorer quality) - check here for fuller details.

Simultaneous has been the improvement in the financial discipline, as seen here, which is going to improve the overall health of the country's key power sector, and thereby the economy, as a whole, too.

So, isn't the writing on the wall bold and clear? What is anybody waiting for?

Muralidhar Rao

Comments

murali772's picture

Can we afford this any longer?

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The reasons for the machines conking off are many. - - - Power failure was specified as the reason when one of the machines at Vidhana Soudha Metro station was found not working last month.

For the full text of the report in the New Indian Express, click here.

How can the city continue to depend on the totally incapacitated (because of the deeds of the neta-babu combo controlling them - check here) BESCOM in today's world? The question needs to be repeatedly raised from every platform available.

Muralidhar Rao

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