Despite huge efforts Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) has failed to start physical work on taking overhead cables underground in the Dhanmondi area as planned with the utility officials blaming it on the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC).
“We had full preparation to start the job in September last as per plan. But we did not receive permission from DSCC to dig the streets to lay our cables and install other equipment”, said a top official of the DPDC.
"That's why we have been able to implement another similar project from the city’s Jahangir Gate in Cantonment to Bangabhaban, the presidential palace”, he said adding that cables were already laid from Jahangir Gate to Farmgate area.
According to official sources, the DPDC had undertaken a huge project of Tk20,500 crore, funded by China, to take its overhead electricity lines underground as part of a mega plan to ensure an uninterrupted, safe, secured electricity supply to its part in Dhaka city.
“Making the views beautiful by removing the ugly and hazardous cables is another main objective of the project”, said Bikash Dewan, managing director of the DPDC.
He also said the overhead cables from Jahangir Gate to Bangabhaban via Karwan Bazar-Kakrail-Fakirapool-Dainik Bangla crossing will disappear once the project is completed.
He appreciated DNCC for cooperation to implement this project as other utilities like internet and TV cable operators have showed positive attitudes to join the project.
“I think, during next few meetings we would be able to settle the issue with the DSCC”, he told UNB.
At present, a number of utility bodies including Desco, DPDC, cable TV operators and internet service providers (ISPs) and state-owned land phone operator BDCL use overhead cables to reach their services to consumers.
All these utilities hang their respective cables in the same poles used by the electricity supply company which creates an eyesore and carries a risk of accidents, including fire.
“Indiscriminate network of such cables not only undermines the beauty of the city, but it also poses a big threat of accidents including catching of fire”, said a city resident.
The DPDC officials said their mega scheme also includes setting up 40 substations in the city and moving overhead cables of Hatirjheel Lake underground. Taking overhead cables underground from Jahangir gate in Cantonment to Motijheel is also included in DPDC’s other similar project.
Earlier, DPDC completed its design and plan to implement its proposed underground cabling project to make the city free from overhead power cables.
“Already, some of the equipment reached the country and some are on the way,” he said, adding that pole-mounted transformers will be replaced with box-type transformers under the project.
Some 36 box-type transformers, 296 of 6-way ring main units (RMU), 34 of 3-way RMUs and 130 LV Cabinet will be installed to facilitate the underground cabling system, Bikash said.
DPDC officials said the project was supposed to kick off in January 2020. But the Chinese engineers who were responsible for designing the works got stuck in their hometown Wuhan following the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.