Manpower shortage has hit the least expected area — the power transmission sector, as the pace of investments is picking up to meet the power demand and generation for the next four years in Andhra Pradesh.
While bankers are more than willing to fund the Rs 6,000-crore investment plan chalked out by APTransco, the state power utility fears that the projects might get delayed if it did not ramp up the manpower.
To overcome this problem, APTransco is planning to train about 1,000 young people with the help of Industrial Training Institutes and district rural development agencies to start with, said Ajay Jain, its chairman & managing director.
Till recently, the utility was investing Rs 600-700 crore every year in expansion of transmission system. This was increased to Rs 1,000 crore last year and would be raised further to Rs 1,500 crore each year starting this fiscal until 2015. This is the minimum the transco has to do as another 6,000 Mw capacity is proposed to be added to the grid by 2015 taking the peak power demand to 17,000 Mw from 11,829 Mw recorded this summer.
Besides, the four distribution companies together would invest about Rs 8,000 crore to augment the distribution network during the same period.
“The contractors engaged in tower line project execution often tell me that the gangs (as they call the team of workers engaged in this hard labour job) have been picked up by luring them with more money,” Jain said. All those who work on these projects are from outside the state, mostly from Bihar, Tamil Nadu or Maharashtra.
“We have come up with this idea (training local youth) and would be working on other details in the next few days,” Jain said. There is a shortage of skilled manpower for foundation, erection and stringing of towers and lines.
Transco is planning to build 52 extra high tension substation during the year, which would require around 1,000 workers.