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Blame game is the order of the day

J.S. Ifthekhar
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Next time your power cable snaps, water line bursts or landline blinks, do not fume at the authorities. It is as useless as trying to slam shut a revolving door. The service departments are adept at the blame game, with none prepared to own up responsibility.

This is what happened the other day when a 132 KV power cable got damaged on the Chilkalguda-Moulali stretch during excavation work by the HMWSSB. As usual, the Andhra Pradesh Central Power Distribution Company Limited (APCPDCL) found fault with the Water Board, while the latter washed its hands off, saying it had duly informed the power utility.

Last week, BSNL landlines at several houses in Jubilee Hills went kaput thanks to excavation work by some department.

Little coordination

Even as departmental heads meet often, there is no sharing of information about their underground lines.

The result: while doing a repair job the GHMC ends up damaging a water line, and the Water Board cuts into the power cable while fixing a leak.

The Water Board has a network of primary and secondary distribution lines running into 3,800 km. Besides, it has 2,500 km of trunk sewers, 560 km of transmission mains and 1.70 lakh manholes. But the exact location of these lines is not known to other departments.

In the recent case at Chilkalguda, the Water Board sought to shiftits lines to facilitate erection of piers by the Hyderabad Metro Rail. .

“The APCPDCL was informed in advance, but none was present when we dug up the road,” says P. Manohar Babu, director (Operations), HMWSSB.

Whenever it undertakes road digging, the Water Board usually alerts BSNL but not the APCPDCL since the latter has only 5 to 10 per cent of its cables running underground.

“When a high power line like 132 KV is laid underground, why has the department not put up some indication by way of warning?” asks Mr. Babu.

Possible solution

Laying of an underground duct, officials feel, is the only solution to stop damage of utilities by service departments inadvertently. The duct has to be laid by the GHMC, and it can collect rent from the departments which use it for their service lines.

In the IT age shouldn’t utility search be just a click away?


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