BENGALURU: Several city localities, which plunge into darkness whenever squally winds uproot trees and damage electric poles and transmission lines, can now hope for an end to their power woes. Power utility Bescom will convert 6,900km of overhead lines to underground cables in the Bangalore metropolitan area zone (BMAZ). Between January and June 10, there have been over 2,633 cases of trees and branches falling on electric lines and other infrastructure, while over 2,135 electric poles have been damaged. Residents across Bengaluru, especially HSR Layout, Peenya, Indiranagar, Domlur, Koramangala, Mathikere, Jayanagar, Yeshwantpur, Shantinagar, BTM Layout bore the brunt, with unscheduled power cuts for long hours becoming a norm.“Every time it rains, the entire area plunges into darkness for hours. The impact is felt for a few more days after rain,” said Ganesh Rao, a resident of Jayanagar. “Power cuts that follow rain are usually due to emergency repair works being carried out by Bescom staff. The impact has been much greater this year because it is mostly 11kV high tension lines — which are feeding power to large sub-divisions — that are getting damaged in rain. The UG (underground) cabling project, though it would take time to be fully implemented, is the only permanent solution,” a Bescom official said. The underground cabling project, which aims to convert 11kV high-tension overhead lines to underground cables and aerial bundled (AB) cables, will be executed in four phases across Bengaluru. The first two phases, expected to be completed in 18 months from issuance of work order, will be executed at a cost of Rs 1,839 crore and will benefit 29 city localities. Out of 63 sub-divisions, Bescom will execute the underground cabling project in 29, in the first two phases. Phase 3 and 4 will be done at an estimated cost of Rs 2,400 crore. “The work will first be implemented in major suburbs in these 29 sub-divisions and surrounding areas. About 50% of the tendering work of the project has been completed and work orders will be issued soon. We’ve set a target of 18 months from the date of issuance of work order for the completion of the first two phases,” said a Bescom official. Bescom managing director C Shikha said these 29 areas are most susceptible to damage. “The initiative will ensure reliable power supply in the city,” said Shikha. Areas covered under Phase I and II HSR Layout, Agara, Indiranagar, Domlur, Mahalakshminagar, Peenya, Nandini Layout, Rajajinagar, Malleshwaram, Sadashivnagar, Mathikere, Yeshwantpur, Jayanagar, Basaveshwaranagar, Kamakshipalya, Nagarbhavi, Shantinagar, JP Nagar, BTM Layout, RR Nagar, Chamrajpet, Hanumanthanagar, Frazer Town, Shivajinagar, Jayamahal, Rammurthy Nagar, Yelahanka, Sahakarnagar, Jakkur. Rise in electrical accidents There is a steep rise in number of electrical accidents reported within Bescom limits between April and May. While 13 accidents were reported in April, the number jumped to 21 by the end of May, shows data provided by Bescom. In May, two departmental and nine non-departmental accidents were registered. Over the past three years, more than 500 electric accidents have been recorded in the city. Bescom has now begun a door-to-door awareness campaign, distributing posters and pamphlets on electrical safety. Residents welfare associations, jointly with local Bescom staff, have been asked to conduct workshops on safety measures to be observed in residential complexes.