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IndiaJKPDD’s cost cutting could prove life threatening

JKPDD’s cost cutting could prove life threatening


PDD's Bubble Bursts!

Jattan Singh Gill

The lack of vision, poor planning, gross mismanagement and a lackadaisical attitude of leaders, bureaucrats as well as engineers, have burst the Bubble of under execution R-APDRP in J&K – a central government flagship project to improve the quality of power distribution and reducing the transmission and commercial losses.

Tawi, July 3: The last gust of wind, although brought respite from harsh to Jammu, but also pulled out the skeletons from PDD's closet in reference to R-APDRP Project.

The much awaited and often claimed as Electricity or Power Reforms by the State Government fell flat to ground zero, when more than 23 poles bearing the new 3-phase 11 KVA High Voltage Distribution System Transformers (HVDS) snapped in response to a very mild turbulence, causing a heavy chunk of metal weighing 350 Kilograms to fall with a force which would be ten times of the weight of the transformer itself.

2 Although, no casualties were reported, but questions of exactly what was approved or decided by the PDD at the time of equipment safety test have started haunting Jammu. Pertinently, PDD claims that various tests are conducted on hardware, trying it at extreme levels, before its rendered fit for use.

The R-APDRP is ideally split into two parts, Part A relates to IT and Part B to hardware installations, which in the case of Jammu were tendered to IRCON for Cluster 1, 2, 4 and EMC for Cluster 3.


Cluster 1 contains areas to the left of River Tawi, Cluster 2 to right of River Tawi, Cluster 3: Kathua, Samba and R.S. Pura and Cluster 4: Akhnoor, Rajouri, Poonch, Udhampur, Doda, Kishtwar and Bhaderwah.

According to the sources, these newly installed poles collapsed because of a major flaw in their design. The ‘flawed' design was proposed by the PDD's Planning and Design Department knowing that these won't withstand the natural calamities. The poles used in Jammu city for these new transformers do not match the prescribed specifications.

According to experts, the poles used outside J&K are Prestressed Concrete Poles and have a length of 9 meters with load of at least 300 Kilos to hold the Transformers which weigh approximately between 350 to 400 Kilograms.

8 The same specifications were denied despite recommendations by the PDD's Planning and Design Department and defying suggestions, Poles with load of 200 Kilograms were used instead thus creating a major design flaw leading to the inevitable crashes.

The whole testing procedure is conducted by a team constituting three members: one expert from EM&RE, one Consultant from Louis Berger Group (handpicked by PDD for quality check) and third man from the executing or implementing agency, in present case IRCON.

The design and the testing of the poles and other equipment are the eminent part of PDD's domain, he added.

6Sources said that the low specifications were used to cut down on the money involved in the project added sources.

It's important to mention that the whole RAPDRP Project is based on assistance from Union Government and a joint venture between the Union Government and the State Government.

Jammu has been categorized under seismic zone 5 which makes it one of the most earthquake prone regions. Considering PDD's safety test claims which now appear fake, the substandard unsafe infrastructure, thus built, could endanger human life and is also a loss to the public exchequer.

The cost cutting by the PDD's Planning and Design Department could come at an ugly price leading to life loss and property loss.

At the time when Jammu Kashmir is still getting its feet out of the Flood devastation and amid the present Government's claims of working towards disaster proof and disaster ready Jammu Kashmir, such incident of mishandling and misconduct allegedly by JKPDD is life threatening.

PDD is a stubborn lap-dog of Jammu Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh, who holds the controversial Power Portfolio.

“For all that is known, such practices of cost cutting, thus jeopardizing safety standards could lead to a possible tragedy in Jammu City”, said Om Prakash, one of the residents of Sainik Colony.

Investigating the matter, The Northlines spoke to PDD officials in a bid to find out the cause behind the deadly incident but many comments were misleading trying to asphyxiate the implementing agency, IRCON, some blamed the bad weather and others stalled stating the investigations have not been completed into the matter yet.

Som Raj, Chief Engineer, Planning and Design, PDD said, “Its unfortunate that such incident has happened. But PDD has nothing to do with it. The project is being executed by IRCON.” On being asked if the payment will still be made to IRCON after the incident, he replied that no payment has been made yet and would only happen town-wise.

Chief Engineer, EM&RE Division, PDD Ashwani Gupta who said that the assessment of crumbling electric poles is still on and we are in process of evaluating and fact finding. The poles snapped due to wind pressure and also blamed a ‘TORNADO' for various collapses in Jammu City.

On the issue, Sudhir Gupta, Ex-En, Division-II said that 10 poles in Sainik Colony have snapped. IRCON is responsible for this as all the turn key work is being handled by them.

On being asked about the reason behind the incident he said, “I am no authority to state a reason that led to the recent damages to the RARDRP infrastructure currently in process of installation. All tests were conducted before installation of the poles.

Attempts to contact Sanjay Sharma, Ex-En, Division 3 failed as he had kept his phones off. Pertinently, this is the man who is almost every time chosen by the department to attend extensive courses abroad for skill development.

The Ex-En for Division 1, Ashok Gupta said that no poles have been reportedly damaged in my division. Nagrota however has a few broken poles following the fast wind.

On speaking with Rakesh Ranjan from IRCON, it was found that IRCON as a safety measure has been instructed by the Head Quarters to unload all the transformers since installed on the single poles. He said, “We have been instructed to unload all the transformers approximately 1200 in number from the single poles, by our headquarters keeping safety of the people in mind, which will take about 15-20 days depending on availability on labour.”

We tried reaching Jammu Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh but to no avail.

The Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme, lagging behind the schedule, was sanctioned to Jammu Kashmir Power Development Department (JKPDD) in December 2009 for covering main towns in Jammu and Kashmir with a sanctioned project cost of Rs. 1,870 Crore (approximately).

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.



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