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Eighty-six years after the city got electricity, overhead power cables in Varanasi are being dismantled after a project to lay underground lines over 16 sq-km has been finally completed. Laying cables for 50,000 consumers through the serpentine lanes and congested markets in one of the world’s oldest cities was quite a challenge for Powergrid, the company conducting the integrated power development scheme (IPDS) project.

“Demographics-wise Seoul and some Turkish cities on the riverfront were considered complicated. While implementing IPDS in Varanasi, we realised this is the most complicated city to lay infrastructure for underground cables,” said Powergrid’s project manager for IPDS Varanasi, Sudhakar Gupta. The company took two years, and finished in December 2017.

Former Union minister of state for power and coal Piyush Goyal announced the Rs 432-crore project for underground cabling work under IPDS for Varanasi in June 2015. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Rs 45,000-crore IPDS for the country in Varanasi in September 2015. The pilot project was rolled out in Kabir Nagar and Ansarabad.

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