Guwahati: Ropeway Failure Due to Lack of 'Right Technical Personnel', 'Communication Gaps'
The panel probing into the stoppage of the functioning of the Guwahati-North Guwahati ropeway just two days after it was inaugurated submitted its report on 5th October last to the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) Chairman.
In the report submitted, senior consultant engineer Jyotirindra Narayan Khataniar advised the GMDA to "improve and up-grade their internal infrastructure to take care of all the coming prestigious projects in hand, by taking the guidance and advice of the right technical personals at the right places for smooth and better performance."
The much-hyped Guwahati-North Guwahati ropeway became non-functional on 26th August, just two days after its inauguration. A three-member committee was formed by the state government to ascertain the causes leading to the problem.
The committee consisted of senior consultant engineer JN Khataniar, GMDA Secretary Ananta Kumar Gogoi and Associate Professor of Electronics and Electrical Engineering Department of IIT Guwahati, Dr Praveen Tripathy.
The report also stated that due to communication gap between the concerned departments, the project suffered for about 10 years without any progress of work and finally the construction activities resumed only in the year 2015-16.
Detailing the incident that led to the halt of the ropeway after just two days of functioning, the panel observed that some abnormal jerking of the entire system was reported, and the 235 KW DC motor suddenly stopped 2-3 times on 25th August, that is a day earlier. Heavy voltage fluctuation was being observed from 410 volts to 385 volts. The temperature of the motor rose up to 68 degrees and finally burnt out.
On inquiry, the Project Manager clarified that the main 135 KW Crompton Greaves DC motor was purchased in June 2011 but was put to use after about 7 years and 6 months. It was operated only in December 2018 for the trial run.
Er. Parveen Tripathy of IIT Guwahati has pointed to the ageing of the insulation material of the DC motor as the cause of sudden failure.
The Managing Director of APDCL said, "There is no abnormal voltage fluctuation in APDCL power supply to the said consumer on that day." He suggested about the feasibility to have a dedicated line to the ropeway project. The same was asked to be explored by GMDA.
Further, the installation of an Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR) to take care of the abnormal voltage fluctuations, proper testing of the earth resistance of the earth electrodes, and to conduct thorough testing of electrical installations in the premises by a 'competent person possessing valid electrical license' was recommended.
Notably, after the Guwahati-North Guwahati ropeway stopped operation on 26th August, the management somehow arranged a similar DC motor from another project site at Gangtok, Sikkim on 29th August and restarted the ropeway system for public usage on 31st August as a temporary measure. The original DC motor was reinstated after 12 days, on 10th September after necessary repairing.
The probe panel reported that the ropeway project was conceptualized by GMDA during 2006-07 under the consultancy service of M/S Rites Ltd. The foundation stone was laid in December 2009 and the project was scheduled to be commissioned in May 2011.
Speaking to G Plus exclusively, JN Khataniar said, "There are many faults and a major reason is lack of experts due to which the Rs. 27 crore project was finally completed at an expense of Rs. 56.80 crores. It is mainly due to the communication gap between the departments."
"Due to improper communication with the Department of Archaeology, one well that was initially constructed for the ropeway project on the Brahmaputra had to be abandoned, as it was made right near Urvashi island which was not permissible as per archeology rules. Around Rs. 10 crores was wasted due to this," he added.
He had also expressed concern as to why the renowned consultancy agency, M/S Rites Ltd was unable to guide GMDA with their expertise to avoid such a technical snag.
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