Storm struck, 6 Power towers in Vijaypur lie uprooted

At least six high-tension (HT) towers, installed by Sterlite Power, a power transmission company, for the Jalandhar-Samba-Amargarh distribution line have been lying uprooted in the Vijaypur area since Thursday night, hinting at use of “substandard” material. The towers got uprooted during a windstorm.
Although no loss of human life was reported, it has raised a question on the quality of material being used for the execution of the Centrally sponsored power projects in the state. The 400 kV D/c Jalandhar-Samba-Amargarh transmission line being executed by Sterlite Power (Sterlite Grid Limited) is a Central government project.
“It is purely a Centre’s project for which execution work has been allotted to a private company on BOOT (build, own, operate, transfer) basis for 25 years,” said Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, who also holds the power portfolio. He made it clear that the state government had nothing to do with the quality control of the project.
“The people in four villages were lucky as the transmission line has not been commissioned yet. Otherwise it could have led to a disaster. It is a matter of concern that towers installed have collapsed. This shows that the executing agency is using poor quality material. We want an investigation and those involved should be booked under law,” said Yashpaul, a local.
Official sources said the project would enable exchange of over 1,000 MW of power between the state and the Northern Grid, thereby increasing the transmission capacity by over 70 per cent. It will also ensure increased grid reliability due to the provision of an alternate route for power transfer and provide continuous power to the state even during extreme weather, they said.
A PowerGrid Corporation official said the towers did not belong to them as the project was being executed by Sterlite Grid Limited.
Deputy Commissioner, Samba, Sheetal Nanda, who visited the spot after getting the information, said the matter would be taken up with the official concerned.
“I cannot comment on the issue right now as it is a technical matter. We are also concerned. A major tragedy has been averted,” Nanda said.