A pre-informed act of load shedding is reasonable, even manageable with prior intimation, and planning. But if claims are made to resolve an issue within 12 hours, and these 12 hours extend to 40, who pays the price?

Comprising industrial warehouses as well as manufacturing units across industry verticals, from software and IT, to pharmaceuticals, automation, engineering, electronics and many Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME), the Verna Industrial Estate has been a key contributor to the state’s overall revenue.
Despite housing one of the biggest industrial estates with hundreds of industries, and providing employment as well as supporting the livelihoods of numerous citizens, the Verna Industrial Estate still continues to suffer from unplanned and poorly estimated power outages.
For a while now, the industries located within the Verna Industrial Estate have had to bear the brunt of halted production cycles, leading to a loss in revenue as well as resources. Be it due to fluctuations in the voltage, frequent power cuts, or even pre-informed power cuts that run longer than the estimated time, a major setback faced by this area, time and again, is power shortage; one that has become a recurring incident.

Throwback to past precedence
In 2022, a promise was made by the then Power Minister Sudin Dhavalikar, to find a solution for all the power-related woes of the industrialists associated with a well-structured distribution of power supply, including the facilitation of well-equipped infrastructure.
Last year in 2023, Goa was also sanctioned `19 crores under the PM Gati Shakti plan which was to be utilised by the Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) to develop certain sectors within the Verna Industrial Estate.
However, over a period of time, the infrastructure has improved, but the distress hasn’t lessened, yet.

Pleas for a balanced demand and supply
In the past, Pradip da Costa, President, Verna Industries Association, had also appealed to the then Power Secretary (Chief Secretary) Y.V.V.J. Rajasekhar, IAS, regarding the over-loaded transformers and a lack of a standby transformer to tackle unforeseen power breakdowns in the Verna Industrial Estate; elaborately explaining how even a minor fluctuation in the power supply can cause multiple amounts of in-process rejections for manufacturing industries. Till date, appeals continue to be made, to unsuccessful fruition.

Pradip Da Costa

Da Costa elucidates, “Besides catering to the industrial estate, Verna also caters to the full of Mormugao taluka. When there is a coal shipment coming in, it requires huge power. So, they overdraw, leading to more trips and fluctuations.”

Goutam Raj, Chairman Manufacturing and Industrial Development sub-committee of Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), expresses “Of late, the issues in power distribution in Goa is impacting the manufacturing industry a lot. Momentary flickering in incoming supply is creating a havoc by distributing the connected load patterns and damaging the sensitive plant and machinery. Frequent failures in the power supply for small duration of times, causes disruption in work-flow, that leads to lot of scrap and rework in the manufacturing process.”

Goutam Raj

Also speaking about this age-old issue, Industrialist and former President, Goa State Industries Association (GSIA) Damodar Kochkar comments, “We need to have a better infrastructure. There are transformers that are loaded, but there is no spare transformer to balance the circulation. There are housing colony permissions being issued in Vasco and there have been so many new industries, but there is a definite mismatch in the overall load capacity that needs to be improved.”

Damodar Kochkar

(Un)Powered by miscalculated estimations
In the first week of June this year, the scale of production in the Verna Industrial Estate, yet again, witnessed another hit due to a massive power cut. On the account of the installation of three towers by the Electricity Board, informed at a very short notice, a power shutdown was announced for 12 hours on June 2.
In actuality, this shutdown lasted for 40 hours, resulting in major operational upheaval. This, was a result of the department lacking skilled resources and had to seek help from Sterlite Power engineers to resolve the issue.

Remarking on this situation, Blaise Costabir, Industrialist and former Chairman, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Goa Council states “The recent outages will have a severe impact because of its duration. At present, if there is any issue in the power supply, the industry power is switched off first. What is required is a spare transformer and better underground cabling. The problematic transformer needs to be isolated and the supply needs to be directed from another.”

Blaise Costabir

Resonating with the sentiments from industrialists, GCCI has requested for at least seven days prior notice regarding power shutdowns, in order to help industries plan towards minimising the impact. It has also made a plea for deploying adequate teams for maintenance related activities to ensure completion of work in a well-organised manner. To which the Office of the Chief Electrical Engineer has responded stating that the Government is already undertaking various measures to increase the reliability of power. It is absolutely critical that a small, yet impactful investment towards addressing these basic issues needs to be made by the governing authorities today, for the industries to continue delivering quality, smoothly, in the longer run. On a hopeful note, Goutam Raj concludes “We look forward to the authorities mitigating the distribution issues proactively and helping Goan industries to becoming more productive”

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