Santanu Basu takes charge as WBSEDCL CMD
Kolkata: Santanu Basu, a senior and dynamic IAS officer of Bengal cadre, has taken over as the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL), replacing Rajesh Pandey.
Earlier, Basu had been the Chairman and Managing Director of the West Bengal Power Development Corporation Limited (WBPDCL).
The WBSEDCL has increased its consumer base up to 1.88 crore from 70 lakh, which was the figure when the Mamata Banerjee government came to power in 2011. An economic review for 2018-19 presented by the state government says around 5 lakh new consumers have been added during the last financial year.
As many as 5,390 new industrial connections having a capacity of 266 MVA, 1,52,956 new commercial connections and 26,188 new agriculture connections have been provided by the state Power department.
It may be mentioned here that the department has almost completed rural electrification drive across the state. The economic review also says rural electrification of households has increased from 55 percent in 2011 to 99.81 percent in March 2018.
When the Mamata Banerjee government came to power, there was no electricity coverage in 45 percent of the entire area of the state but in the past few years, almost all the villages have been brought under the coverage of electricity.
The state has taken steps to collect the dues which were lying with various government and non-government organisations throughout the state. It has been learnt that a total Rs 1,200 crore remained outstanding, with Rs 600 crore lying with various state agencies.
Even after the completion of rural electrification project covering all the villages in the state, there have been some incidents of load-shedding caused due to unknown demands in some pockets. It occurs mainly because of incidents of power theft.
It will be a challenge for Basu, the new CMD of WBSDECL, to chalk out plans to address the lapses. The WBSEDCL has been cracking down on the illegal tapping of power. In some places there have been repeated incidents of low voltage.
The economic review also says that the government has ensured 24x7 power supply to all the consumers, with uninterrupted power supply for 24 hours a day in the urban areas. In case of rural areas, supply of power for more than 23 hours a day has been achieved. Presently, the staff strength of the WBSEDCL is around 18,000.
Among the other achievements, the WBSEDCL has also been exporting power to Bangladesh continuously since December 2013. In a major infrastructural development, the WBSEDCL has set up 25 new 33/11 KV sub-stations (having transformation capacity of 356 MVA) during the last financial year, taking the total number of 33/11 KV sub-stations to 616, with transformation capacity of 10,455.45 MVA.