Company that put up the structure decides to back out of project
It was set up with a lot of fanfare at the Marine Drive earlier this month. But after one of its leaves came off a second time on Thursday, the windmill set up by the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) is all set to make an unceremonious exit.
United Electricals, a Kollam-based public sector company that put up the windmill, has decided to back out of the project. The company is about to write to the GCDA next week stating that it does not want to restore the windmill.
The windmill was in the news for all the wrong reasons ever since its installation on July 5.
The leaves of its fan came off the very next day after it was set up. It was restored a week later only to come off again.
“We will write to GCDA chairman N. Venugopal saying that we don’t want to continue with the windmill and are willing to replace it with solar panel without any additional cost. The GCDA, however, is very much within their authority to decline our offer. If the GCDA chooses to accept our proposal then we will procure corrosion resistant solar panel for Marine Drive,” B. Harinarayanan, senior technical consultant of United Electricals, told The Hindu.
United Electricals has been engaged in the manufacture of electrical equipment for the last 50 years. The company had been finding the going tough for some time with business turning unprofitable.
With even the salary of its 1,700-odd employees posing a problem, the company decided to leverage the solar option about a year ago.
Though it has successfully executed solar projects for various government agencies, the company has no experience in putting up a windmill and the one at Marine Drive was their first such venture.
“We have clearly mentioned in the work order that we are undertaking the project on an experimental basis,” Mr. Harinarayanan said.
United Electricals had executed the solar project at GCDA’s office at Kadavanthra and its success helped them bag the windmill project. Mr. Harinarayanan said the company was likely to get the approval of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy within a month, which will entitle it to Central subsidy in implementing solar projects.
Mr. Venugopal said the GCDA has dropped the idea of a windmill.
“If the company wants to set up solar panel in its place it should be done at their own cost, as the GCDA is not willing to pay them anything after all the bad publicity they brought us. The allocation of Rs. 3.98 lakh was specifically for the windmill and cannot be expended for its substitution. If the company is not ready, then we will look at other alternatives as solar project cannot be assigned to them without tendering,” he said.
Mr. Venugopal, however, confirmed that the company had in its proposal said that it wished to undertake the project on a trial basis.
“That’s why we gave them the work on the understanding that they will not be paid anything unless the windmill was found successful and generated the promised energy to light up the walkway,” he said.