Odisha govt pegs loss to power sector at Rs 900 crore

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government on Tuesday pegged at Rs 900 crore the loss to the power sector in the state according to a preliminary assessment, after cyclone 'Phailin' severely damaged infrastructure particularly in worst-hit Ganjam district.
"The loss to the power sector is about Rs 900 crore due to massive damage to power transmission and distribution equipment, including electric lines, sub-stations, grid stations, electric poles and others," Energy Secretary P K Jena said.
He said Ganjam was the worst hit by cyclone Phailin followed by Puri in the east coast. "In Ganjam, many power distribution installations need to be re-built as they are not in the stage of repair," he said.
Of the projected figure, loss in Ganjam district alone is estimated in the range of Rs 500-600 crore, Jena said, adding that low transmission line of 34,000 kms length and high tension line of 3,700 kms have been completely damaged.
At least 13 electric sub-stations in Berhampur town and three substations in Chhatrapur have been completely damaged and require new machinery, he said.
"The power distribution infrastructure in Ganjam district has been badly damaged. Around 80 per cent of 33/11 kV lines have been ruined. This requires a massive restoration work through deployment of huge manpower.
"In some regions of the district, the infrastructure has to be installed from the scratch. It will take at least seven days for repair," Jena said.
Energy Minister Arun K Sahu said, "At least 3,000 skilled workers are required to be engaged in restoration of power sector, but we have only 1,200 personnel. The state government has urged central PSUs like PGCIL, NTPC and NHPC to send some technical experts to carry forward restoration works." 
Besides drawing attention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the damage to the power infrastructure due to the cyclone, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also wrote a letter to Union Minister of State for Power Jyotiraditya Scinda requesting him to support the state government by sending technical experts.
Meanwhile, Jena said the Rourkela Steel Plant was likely to provide at least 1,000 electric poles for immediate requirement.
Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) was approached for supply of steel poles, but the central PSU had expressed inability to help as they did not have the required size of steel poles, sources said.