Surprised by ₹15-crore estimate to level land for power substation, Minister orders verification

MESCOM has made a claim that the amount is required for such a purpose at Siddakatte in Bantwal taluk

District in-charge Minister Kota Srinivas Poojari and senior officials were in for a surprise on Monday when officials from Mangalore Electricity Supply Company (MESCOM) informed them that ₹15 crore was required to level the land meant to construct a power substation in Bantwal taluk.

Chairing a meeting on issues related to power substations and power lines here, Mr. Poojari said that the administration will recommend stringent action against officials concerned if it was found that the cost is exaggerated. He directed engineers from the Public Works and Panchayat Raj departments and Nirmithi Kendra to inspect the proposed land and submit a report after verifying the claim.

MESCOM had in 2014 proposed to construct a 110 kV substation at Siddakatte in Bantwal taluk and prepared an estimate. The company had said that ₹15 crore was required to level the land before constructing the substation. Mr. Poojari said that if the estimate is found to be exaggerated during inspection, the government will be asked to initiate action against MESCOM officials concerned.

Meanwhile, the Minister directed the revenue officials to identify three to five acres of alternative land in Siddakatte to facilitate construction of the substation.

Deputy Commissioner K.V. Rajendra said that MESCOM itself had identified the land at Siddakatte in 2014 and did not look for alternative land. After the proposal was accepted, officials have claimed that ₹15 crore was needed to level the land. Prima facie, the claim has no substance as the power distributor should have identified alternative land either belonging to the government or private persons. They did not discuss the issue with the revenue authorities either.

Dr. Rajendra directed Bantwal Tahsildar Rashmi to identify alternative land either at Siddakatte or nearby villages. He asked the Tahsildar to immediately conduct a Gram Sabha in the village to get details about available land from villagers.

The meeting discussed in detail other issues related to substations and power lines in the district. MLAs Rajesh U. Naik and K. Umanath Kotian, MLC Prathapsimha Nayak, senior MESCOM officials and others were present.

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