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LAHORE: The board of directors (BoD) of the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) on Saturday approved revival of 25 years old project of 132kV Sheranwala Grid Station – a Gas-Insulated Substation (GIS) – directing the authorities to complete it within a short span of time.

The project was unanimously approved by all the members of the BoD in a meeting presided over by its Chairman Irfan Akram.

The Rs453 million Sheranwala Grid was envisaged in 1992 for which the then Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) purchased private land, measuring over five kanals. In 1993, the authorities got the civil work/structure completed. However, according to the officials, the work on the station stopped after various civic agencies, including the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) raised objections to it.

“One of the objections was about the land that, according to those who had raised the objections, consisted of a small piece which was insufficient for an open grid. After some years, another proposal was made, recommending a 132kV GIS grid station that can be built easily on the land purchased for this purpose,” said a senior official who was privy to the BoD meeting.

He said after inspection of Lesco in 1998, the officials resumed the work. All the necessary equipment required for a GIS was procured from a major manufacturer of the country. But later the project was again put on halt due to official bottlenecks, including change of the BoD time to time.

“For the last three to four years, Lesco’s previous BoD kept the project on halt due to reasons best known to it. However, when new BoD was constituted, the project was placed before it by the top Lesco officials,” the official explained.

“Finally on Saturday, the scheme was revived amid direction to the officials to complete it as early as possible since all objections/bottlenecks were removed,” he added.

To a question, the official said that due to the long delay, the building had turned dilapidated and it now required a huge civil work. It looks that a new building would be constructed after the demolition of the old one. Due to the delay, the project’s cost, which was about Rs409m, had gone up to Rs453m. He said the procured equipment was lying in the factory and needed revalidation by the vendors after a thorough examination.

“Had this project been completed on time, the people of Lahore would not have suffered from various constraints in the Lesco’s distribution system,” the Lesco official said.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2017