The project to upgrade the city's main power transmission network is still in limbo because the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has not given its green clearance to stage two of the much-needed infrastructure.
The transmission network, owned by state company Mahatransco, needs to be upgraded urgently in view of city's growing demand of power. But the company said it could start work on the said project only after getting the MoEF's nod.
Mahatransco's executive director (project) VM Latey confirmed the MoEF nod for the first stage. "We have applied to MoEF about getting the nod for the second stage. This includes several compliances."
The project aims to enhance carrying capacity of transmission network by another 2000 mega watts (MW) so that the city's four distribution companies can bring in more power from outstation sources.
Demand for power is expected to grow to 4000-4500 MW by 2014 from the existing 2800-3300 MW.
City's distribution companies use the Mahatransco network and experts felt that the city could begin facing outages by the summer of 2013 if the present transmission network did not match the growing demand.
Following two major black-outs in the city last year, the state electricity regulator had also asked all power utilities to upgrade their networks because the city's demand is expected to grow by more than 12% every year.
Mahatransco needed MoEF's clearance because the lines pass through forest areas such as Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) and other eco- sensitive areas. The three lines, Khargar-Kalva, Kalva-Borivli and Borivli-Boisar will be upgraded by December 2012 at the cost of Rs500 crore.
Of these lines, which measure 130km in total, 23km run through SNGP.
Latey expected MoEF relief soon saying that the company would not need any forestland to construct new towers. "In fact we will use our existing towers to add more circuits to its network to enable to carry up to 2000MW by December this year."