Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Delhi Finance Minister A. K. Walia on Wednesday said overhead power lines that give a shabby look to the Capital and pose a threat to children flying kites and residents living nearby will soon become a thing of the past.

The Minister said the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission has sanctioned Rs.50 crore for the city’s power distribution companies -- BYPL, BRPL and NDPL -- to take up a time-bound programme for replacing these lines with underground cables.

Dr. Walia said the discoms have been directed to undertake conversion of all overhead lines crossing the main roads in their respective areas keeping in view the Commonwealth Games-2010.

Expressing the view that such overhead lines crossing main roads not only spoil the surroundings but are also not in keeping with the world-class city status that Delhi seeks to achieve, the Minister said conversion of overhead lines into underground lines would also help overcome frequent breakdowns in power supply.

Dr. Walia said the discoms would be carrying out the conversion work in areas like Chandni Chowk, Paharganj and Karol Bagh that have been shortlisted for the first phase of the programme.

It was pointed out that in both BYPL and NDPL areas such overhanging cables exist, while in the area under BRPL jurisdiction there are no places with a congested overhead system.

As for the BRPL areas, it was stated that 33-kV overhead lines strung on rail poles were proving to be an eyesore and therefore they too would be replaced by an underground system.

Dr. Walia said the conversion work would provide another advantage to the discoms as it would do away with the cutting and trimming of trees, which is done every year, and would therefore be an environment-friendly measure.