Encroachment hobbles efforts to boost power infrastructure
The Delhi power department, hobbled by illegal encroachments in colonies, is finding it tough augmenting infrastructure even as the demand for electricity rises by more than 15% each year.
Utility poles are inside drawing rooms or have been merged with balconies because of a severe lack of space in areas such as Shaheen Bagh, Uttam Nagar, Jaitpur, Hari Nagar and Mahipalpur.
The department plans to serve notices to residents of the areas, asking them to tear down illegal constructions to ensure there is enough space to set up transformers and poles.
South Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, an area abutting New Friends Colony, has several buildings that flout the height restriction of 15m. In several homes in the area, the utility poles are right inside balconies. The colony, which already has 8,500 flats, is set to add nearly 2,500 more over the next two years.
“In several colonies in south and west Delhi, including Shaheen Bagh, there is no space to build infrastructure. The residents don’t allow us to erect poles or transformers in front of their flats. We have been trying to persuade them but in vain,” said a BSES spokesperson.
“It is a common sight to see a utility pole inside or merged with a balcony. Illegal constructions mean people are living closer to distribution boxes and transformers, exposing them to grave danger,” added the official.
Then there is lack of space for new transformers. “We have been asking RWAs to allot us space for installing transformers but there is always some dispute or the other. We still do not have land in colonies such as Mehrauli, Uttam Nagar, Katwaria Sarai and Kishangarh among others,” said a senior power department official.