Vasco goes ‘powerless

Nearly half of Vaso city was without power supply since Wednesday afternoon, when four underground cables of the Harbour substation were allegedly damaged by an MPT contractor during work on the railway lines.

Upset over the negligence, Power Minister Milind Naik, who also happens to be the local MLA, has directed the South Goa collector to seize the machinery used in the damage of the electricity cables and to file a police complaint against MPT and the contractor.

According to Executive Engineer Gopinathan Pillaik, the power disruption took place at about 2.30 pm and assistant engineer Vithal Haldankar along with a junior engineer went to trace the fault.

“Both engineers tried their best but were unable to locate the fault. It was only at about 7 pm when MPT officials informed the department that some cables of the Harbour substation were damaged by their contractor. The engineers rushed to the site to restore the power supply,” said Pillaik.

The engineers found out that four major cables were damaged by the contractor during excavation work.

“About 50% of the power supply to Mormugao and Vasco is supplied through the Harbour substation, while the remaining power is supplied through the Vasco substation,” he added.

“As these cables are not available at the Vasco substation, we had to procure it from Ponda substation and electricity will be restored only by Thursday noon,” Pillaik said.

When asked to quantify the loss due to the damage, Pillaik said the damage to the four electricity cables is estimated at Rs 5 lakh.

When contacted, Power Minister Milind Naik said around 19 transformers could not supply the electricity due to the damaged cables.

“The electricity department has to procure the cables from the Ponda substation. Even the machine to join the cables has to be brought from Ponda,” Naik said.

“As soon as I got the message that the power failure was due to the negligence of MPT and the MPT’s contractor, I called up the South Goa collector and directed him to seize the machinery used in the excavation and to file a police complaint against the MPT and the contractor,” said Naik.

When contacted, MPT Chairman P Mara Pandiyan said he is away in Delhi and was not aware of any power failure due to the damage of electricity cables inside the port premises.

MPT Deputy Chairman Biplav Kumar said the MPT is ascertaining the exact cause of the power outage.

“I am waiting for a report in this connection. If the contractor is at fault, he will be made to pay for the damages,” said Kumar. [H]