Dhaka Power Distribution Company Ltd (DPDC) has finally started the work to lay underground cables that will replace the high voltage overhead transmission lines in Hatirjheel area.
“We’ve already laid 2.2km of 132 kilovolt (kV) underground cables, out of a total length of 3.5 km. We hope, by next year people will not see any overhead cables in Hatirjheel,” Bikash Dewan, managing di-rector of DPDC, said.
He informed that the cables are being laid underground through digging the roads in southern part of the Hatirjheel area and cables reach the Mogbazar through Rampura Bridge area.
The Hatirjheel Lake was artificially created in a vast area of Gulshan, Tejgaon and Rampura as part of the city’s beautification and environmental protection plan. But the overhead cables were out of place with the plan.
Removing overhead cables from Hatirjheel is a part of the DPDC’s larger plan to take all its overhead cables underground from different areas in the city’s central, west and southern parts.
The DPDC undertook a “Power Distribution System Upgrading Project” to improve its network and sys-tem in its command area in Dhaka city and signed a contract with the Chinese contractor TBEA in Sep-tember in 2019 to implement the China-funded Tk 20,500 crore mega project.
DPDC officials said that earlier they completed the design of the project in which a total of 190 kms of overhead electricity cables will be removed and taken underground from different areas in the city.
Of these, about 115 kms are of 11 kV overhead lines, and 75 kms are 0.4 kV lines, they said, adding that all kinds of overhead electric cables will go underground and no cable will remain visible in a particular part of Dhanmondi area that includes Satmasjid Road, Mirpur Road, City College and Greenherald School area.
Under the project, 40 substations will be set up in the city and cables in Dhanmondi residential areas will be laid underground.
Taking overhead cables underground from Jahangir Gate in Cantonment to Motijheel is also included in DPDC’s other similar project which was already completed.
“Of the areas, implementation work of the project in Dhanmondi area is in progress,” said Bikash De-wan, addingwork will be started gradually in many more areas.
DPDC officials said the equipment for the project has already arrived from abroad. Under the project in the Dhanmondi area, pole-mounted transformers are being replaced with box-type transformers.
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, they informed.
They 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.
Officials said most of the materials, equipment and system were brought to the country for the Dhan-mondi pilot project.
Bikash Dewan said once the project is implemented, it will play a vital role in improving the power dis-tribution system and substantially check the unexpected interruption in power supply.
There are widespread allegations from the consumers that interruptions take place frequently in many areas in the city.
DPDC officials admitted that it happens due to a weakness in the distribution system despite the fact that there is no shortage in electricity supply.
Under the power distribution system upgrading project, the capacity of a number of substations will also be improved, they added.
Lack of coordination
Before starting the fieldwork, DPDC has invited both the city corporations, internet service providers (ISPs) and cable TV operators to join the project for its proper implementation through better coordina-tion.
But the power distribution company’s call received bi response from other authorities.
“So far, we’ve not received any response from other utilities to our appeal,” said the managing director of DPDC. “But I heard the city corporations and ISPs are taking up separate projects to take their cables underground.”
The city’s overhead cables, especially the internet and cable TV lines, have created a huge pressure on electricity lines which often pose a serious threat to public safety.
“It not only tarnishes the beauty of the city, but often becomes a cause of threat for public safety,” said Sajjadur Rahman, a city dweller.