The Elephanta or Gharapuri Island which houses the famous Elephanta caves finally received electricity about 70 years after independence, via a 7.5 KM long undersea cable. This project costing about 25 crores was completed in about 15 months. The project to electrify the island was spearheaded by Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd (MSEDCL). The island is about 10 KM away from the Mumbai mainland.
As per the regional head of MSEDCL Satish Karape, the undersea cable is India’s longest and took about three months to lay. The three villages namely Raj Bander, Mora Bander and Shet Bander which were bereft of electricity had three transformers installed. Besides this, the electricity facilities included, six 13 metre tall streetlight towers equipped with powerful LED bulbs.
As a result of the electrification, individual power meters have been provided to about 200 domestic and some commercial consumers. The families mostly comprise of fishermen, farmers and those employed in the tourism sector.
The 22-KV undersea cable comprises of four lines, one for every transformer, which includes a standby one to ensure round the clock high-quality power and potential capacity of catering to the future demand for more than 30 years. The cable is designed to withstand choppy seas and underwater pressure.
This electrification comes as a massive relief for the villagers who barely managed to get a three hour power supply with the help generators provided by the state government. The electrification also brings the hope that the tourism industry might receive a further boost via possible overnight stays, installation of a lighthouse and if possible, the powering of the caves itself. It is also planned that a water filtration plant can now be set up for to provide clean water for the locals and tourists.
Such first times when it comes to electricity supply have recently been witnessed from various parts of the country:
- In 2016, Shiyal Bet an island off the coast of Gujarat got its first taste of electricity. The 6000 strong population at the Arabian sea island till then were mainly dependant on Kerosene oil and battery lamps for the light in its lives.
- Amdeli, a remote Maharashtra village in the Gadchiroli district of the state, received electricity in 2017. The state till a few years ago even didn’t have any transportation facilities.
- A tribal village in Chhattisgarh too got electric connectivity only in December 2017, which resulted in villagers expressing happiness about their kids having a bright future.