The project to upgrade the city's main power transmission network has been cleared by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
The 49-year-old transmission network, owned by state company Mahatransco, needs to be upgraded urgently in view of the growing demand for power by the city's 42 lakh consumers.
The new network will bring in 1200 megawatts more from various sources to the city through a combination of three upgraded lines - Kharghar-Kalva, Kalva-Borivli and Borivli-Boisar. HT had first reported on February 8 last year that the company could not start construction of the much-needed line because of the MoEF hurdle.
Mahatransco needed the environment clearance because the 130-km lines pass through forest areas such as the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary and other eco-sensitive areas. Of this, 23km runs through the SGNP, a protected forest area.
While the utility had expected to finish the work by December 2012, the delayed clearance will now see the project being completion by mid 2013 at the cost of Rs572 crore.
Mahatransco has said the construction will not hamper forest land much because the new lines will be built using narrow base towers along the existing power line network.
Mahatransco's chairman and managing director, Arvind Singh, confirmed the development. He said the demand for power is expected to grow from the existing 2800-3300 MW to 4200-4500MW by 2015-16. "The new line will help all four distribution companies in the city," he said. The clearance came through at the end of last week.