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NEW DELHI: With cyclones hitting India’s eastern and western coast on a regular basis, the Union government is working on a plan to develop cyclone resilient power distribution and transmission infrastructure. This will ensure electricity to the coastal states, during these extreme weather events, people aware of the development said.

As parts of this playbook being put into play, the plan is to put in place this ‘cyclone resilient’ infrastructure in the coastal belt up to 20 km from the coastline and then progressively up to 60 km. Ensuring uninterrupted electricity supply holds the key to running emergency services such as hospitals, medical oxygen plants and test labs.

The development assumes significance given that power and communication poles were uprooted during cyclones Tauktae and Yaas. While cyclone Tauktae caused extensive loss of life and property in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Kerala, Karnataka and Goa; cyclone Yaas affected the states of Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand.

Some of these measures to be taken by the state-run electricity distribution companies (discoms) involve, using insulated aerial bunched cables for 11 kV and low-tension power links, setting up flood protection walls and using epoxy-based paint coating for protecting steel structures such as electricity poles from corrosion.

With flooding being a major area of concern due to high tidal waves, the plan also involves converting air insulated substation to gas insulated substation, putting in place fibre-optic links in transmission system, mounting distribution transformers on plinth and using rail poles and double pole structure.

“This will reduce damage during cyclones and bring back the power system online quickly," said one of the people cited above requesting anonymity.

A meeting was recently held by the union power ministry on the issue that was also attended by the officials of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), India’s apex power sector planning body, the cyclone affected states and state-run power sector firms.

While cyclones in the Bay of Bengal have been a regular phenomenon, they are also turning up in western India amid rising temperatures in the Arabian Sea, which experts attribute to climate change.

States such as Odisha have been able to minimise damages to the Low Tension (LT) network due to preventive maintenance, tree pruning, and taking other precautionary steps.

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