With an eye on the municipal elections scheduled around March-April next year, the Delhi government is going all out to improve the living conditions of those residing in unauthorised colonies.
The government has identified 929 sites in illegal colonies which pose serious safety hazards to its residents due to their close proximity to high-tension wires and transformers. Asking officials and discoms to expedite the project of augmenting electricity network in these areas, power minister Satyendar Jain has formed a committee for its monitoring.
“Apart from monitoring, the committee has been asked to come up with a solution to the issue of funding for upgrading the High-Voltage Distribution System (HVDS) in unauthorised colonies. The issue of ‘way leave charges’ levied by the North Municipal Corporation of Delhi brought up by discoms will have to be resolved by it too,” a government official said.
One third of Delhi’s population lives in illegal colonies which according to government data are divided into 16 lakh plots across the city. Marked by matchbox-like houses and narrow lanes, residents in these localities have high tension wires, transformers and electricity poles right in front of their houses.
Among other measures, special teams consisting representatives from Delhi Transco Limited (DTL), distribution companies and the MLAs concerned have also been formed. “They will visit the locations of overloaded Distribution Transformers (DTs) and suggest suitable locations for their upgradation. The report has to be submitted to the minister by the end of this month,” the official added.
Out of the 929 spots, so far, new power infrastructure has been installed at only 238 sites. Attributing the poor and hazardous network to lack of space, discoms said, “There is no place for installing and laying new transformers, poles or cables. The residents not only don’t allow erecting new poles in front of their flats but also don’t provide any space for installation of new transformers.”
For Sanjeev Jha, MLA from Burari, the issue is what irks residents of his constituency the most. “We have as many as 17 brand new transformers given by the Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) for our constituency, but they haven’t been installed yet because there is no land available. We are working closely with the team assigned to us and the RWAs to find a solution,” he said.
The lack of infrastructure is also resulting in delay in issuance of new connections. “Over 3,000 applications for electricity connections to households are pending in Burari. Discoms also have no option as they cannot lay new cables,” Jha added.
As a solution to the space crunch the government is mulling to go vertical for installation of transformers wherein two transformers would be placed on top of each other. Once these are in place, the issue of power theft which is rampant in areas like Shaheen Bagh near Sarita Vihar, Gandhi Nagar, Krishna Nagar, Harsh Vihar, Ghitornia and Bijwasan are likely to come down.