Hardly three weeks after it was installed with much fanfare, one of the leaves of the windmill at the Marine Drive came off a second time in heavy rain and wind on Thursday afternoon leaving the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) with egg on its face.
GCDA chairman N. Venugopal, however, washed his hands of the incident stating that the agency entrusted with setting up the windmill was yet to hand it over to the GCDA officially. “We had made it clear at the outset that we will take possession of the windmill only after it is in working condition. We will not pay the agency till then,” he said.
Mr. Venugopal said the GCDA has asked United Electricals, a Kollam-based public limited company entrusted with the setting up of the windmill, to give it in writing if they did not have the capability to operate and maintain it.
United Electricals, on its part, said while one of the fan leaves did come off, the other two were brought down to avoid any damage to them in the heavy rain.
“Even the one leaf that came off was not due to any defect. In fact, we were working on the windmill and one of our men atop it had loosened that leaf for inspection when heavy rain lashed the area. He could no longer hold on to it and thus it came off,” said Harinarayanan, chief consultant of United Electricals.
Leaving just two of the three leaves would have damaged them and the entire windmill structure. Hence they were brought down, he said. Mr. Harinarayanan said the leaves would be restored on Thursday if the rain stayed off.
He said the company had undertaken the project on a trial basis and would replace it with solar power if the windmill was found unsuccessful. Mr. Venugopal, however, said a solar panel was not practical in the area and the only option left was to draw electrical lines in the conventional manner.
The fan leaves of the windmill, set up at a cost of Rs. 3.90 lakh, had come off on July 6, a day after it was erected. At that time Mr. Venugopal had said that the shortness of the original shaft on which the fan was placed had led to its collapse. Thursday’s incident comes hardly a week after it was restored, rectifying that snag.
The windmill was supposed to generate 10.5 kW of power daily and charge 100 lights along the new Marine Drive walkway from its northern end up to Kinco jetty.