Wire-free city remains a pipedream for residents

It has been more than five years since the Navi
Mumbai Municipal Corporation is pursuing the matter of making Navi Mumbai wire-free with the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company but in vain.

Earlier, since MSEDC did not have funds so it asked NMMC to provide loan. And accordingly the corporation passed a resolution for providing loan to the company at the general body meet held on January 20, 2004. However, it was decided that the interest on loan will be two per cent more than the market rate. This was not at all acceptable to MSEDC and since then the issue has been hanging fire.
On July 3, 2007 a meeting was organized under the chairmanship of the then state energy minister Dilip Valse Patil, guardian minister Ganesh Naik, the then mayor Manisha Bhoir, municipal commissioner Vijay Nahata and other representatives. During the meeting a few important decisions were taken and forwarded to MSEDC chief engineer, Bhandup division.

A few of the decisions taken in the meeting are as follows:
o There is a need of under grounding the over head wires in NMMC and so accepted
o The whole expense of Rs 211 crore will be done by NMMC, however MSEDC will not have to pay any interest on the loan. Instead 50 per cent reimbursement will be done through the electricity bill of NMMC annually.
o As the cost of the project is above Rs 10 crore so there is a need to get permission from Maharashtra State Electricity Regularity Commission to do the needful communication.
o Only after the permission is granted by the MSERC, the further process will be allowed.
Later after a gap of one and a half years on January 20, 2009, guardian minister Ganesh Naik called a joint meeting of MSEDC and NMMC and directed few additional points:
n The work has to be done phase wise in five to six years.
n If needed funds can be demanded from MMRDA or other agencies.

These were also passed by the general body on February 10, 2009. Since then the works of under grounding the overhead electrical wires have been initiated in the city. Airoli is the only node where the work is almost completed. To speed up its work and especially where there is an urgent need. The tender was called on April 6, 2009. And on June 17, 2009 the Standing Committee too bowed the resolution, however till date no step has been taken for its implementation. When contacted the NMMC chief electrical engineer GV Rao, he informed “We are still in communication with MSERC to give permission. But it’s a long procedure we are not aware when things will settle.”
Vashi is the only Node in Navi Mumbai which was made wire-free by CIDCO, that too Sector-15 of it was excluded. It’s since then the dream of Navi Mumbaikars to stay in the city which is wire-free.

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