World’s oldest city goes ‘wireless’

Eighty-six years after the city got electricity, overhead power cables in Varanasi are being dismantled after a project to lay underground lines over 16 sq-km has been finally completed. Laying cables for 50,000 consumers through the serpentine lanes and congested markets in one of the world’s oldest cities was quite a challenge for Powergrid, the company conducting the integrated power development scheme (IPDS) project.

Demographics-wise Seoul and some Turkish cities on the riverfront were considered complicated. While implementing IPDS in Varanasi, we realised this is the most complicated city to lay infrastructure for underground cables

Former Union minister of state for power and coal Piyush Goyal announced the Rs 432-crore project for underground cabling work under IPDS for Varanasi in June 2015. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Rs 45,000-crore IPDS for the country in Varanasi in September 2015. The pilot project was rolled out in Kabir Nagar and Ansarabad.

Work started in December 2015, and Goyal visited regularly to monitor the project and said it would be completed in a year though it had a two-year deadline. “Major differences were found in the actual requirement and proposal in the detailed project report.

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