“Yes, finally, we have received electricity, and this is the most beautiful feeling ever,” said Reshma Bhoir, an 80-year-old resident of Gharapuri Island (popularly known as Elephanta Island). And, why not, Bhoir has all the reason to be happy and joyful, as this island—which is just 10 km away from the financial capital of India, i.e., Mumbai—got illuminated 70 years after the independence.
The project’s main aim is to bring electricity to this island, which houses the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Elephanta Caves. This was a challenging task. Around 15 models were discussed, and finally, the government decided to implement a model that was first in the country.
The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company—with support from the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation and others—laid a 7.5 km of underground four-core sea cable, which provided intermittent electricity to the island. Interestingly, the cable has been laid 1.5 meters under the sea-bed with a concrete slab, which will not damage by any event.
The project to electrify the island, thronged daily by thousands of Indian and foreign tourists, has a cost of Rs 22.5 crore and was completed in 15 months. The government has installed three transformers that will provide 400 KW of electricity with an upper limit of 4 MW.
“It’s a historic day today. This is the first time that such kind of big wire cable is used in the Arabian Sea to spread the lines for electricity,” said Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Minister of Energy, New and Renewable Energy. He further said that the step would now increase the tourism and more people would visit the world heritage site. The step will also benefit three villages – Raj Bander, Mora Bander and Shet Bander.