Experts seek third party study of Niranthara Jyothi scheme

Experts seek third party study of Niranthara Jyothi scheme

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa had launched the ambitious project of the government to ensure 24-hour power supply to rural households at Malur in Kolar district in November, last.

The project that splits the power supply for IP sets and non-IP sets at the feeder level was initiated after the Rural Load Management System, which bifurcated the power at the transformer level failed owing to lack of management and maintenance.

The Rs 16 crore project taken up by Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) has created 400 km of dedicated lines. Contracts were awarded on a turnkey basis to four firms to complete the project. However, even before completion of the work, Bescom has invited tenders to extend the project to 20 taluks within its limit on February 27, 2009. As per the tender, the project has to be commissioned within 240 days from the date of issuing letter of intent, which the experts say cannot be done unless it is reviewed.

“A project, before extension, should be studied at least for six months and evaluated by a third party. But in this case, the Bescom has called for tenders even before the completion of the project,”pointed out a power expert.

A former Karnataka Electricity Board (KEB) top official said that the tender violated Section 86 of the Electricity Act, 2003 and also Section 11 of Karnataka Electricity Reforms Act, 1999, which clearly seeks safety and efficiency of the project. " There are several organisations like The Energy Research Institute, Indian Institute of Science, Central Power Research Institute and others to study the success of the project," he suggested.

He pointed out that BESCOM had earlier abandoned Rs 1,800 crore Rural Load Management System (RLMS). "Even this might meet the same fate, if no step is taken to ensure transparency and efficiency," he said.

Sure disaster?

Another power expert said that the project, undertaken without metering is bound to be a disaster. "It will not serve any purpose if they are unable to gauge the consumption.  Moreover nobody is ready to say that this project is fool-proof and cannot be tapped."
However, Bescom Managing Director Tushar Girinath told Deccan Herald that the BESCOM is planning to appoint a third party for evaluation of the project.  "We are contemplating on it and will decide soon," he said.

On the other hand, hardly six months after the launch of the project, the villagers seems to be a frustrated lot.

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