Thursday, June 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pioneer of power supply to villages
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
He neither went to any engineering college nor holds any high-profile degree in modern technology. A simple man to the core, he has not even tasted tea for the past 32 years.

But by way of his inventions, he has helped the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to save crores of rupees on 24-hour power supply to villages ( human settlements).

He is Mr Gurchran Dass Batish, uncrowned hero of rural Punjab. Because of his “inventions”, the PSEB, besides saving crores, has also been successful in covering about half of rural Punjab under the 24-hour supply scheme which otherwise could have taken several years.

Hailing from Mandour village near Patiala, Mr Batish joined the PSEB as a lineman on November 3, 1980, after completing a certificate course as electrician from the ITI, Nabha. He came out with a “fourth wire” invention for 24-hour supply to villages. The scheme was started in 1992. However, its implementation was slow as it was proving costly and the laying of the new parallel power supply transmission system was time consuming.

With the invention of the “fourth wire” system, the need to lay a parallel transmission system was eliminated. Before Mr Batish’s invention, the PSEB was erecting new parallel transmission lines to the ones already existing for three-phase power supply to villages as well as tubewells.

However, Mr Batish by doing a lot of research and practical work convinced the board that there was no need to erect parallel lines. Add one additional fourth line to the existing ones from the grid to the village concerned to provide single-phase supply to the domestic sector in the rural areas. Thus cutting the power supply to tubewells simultaneously..

Earlier, from the power supply to the domestic sector, people in the villages used to put an improvised system on the power supply lines to convert them into three-phase power supply and thus used to run their power motorised tubewells. In the process, they not only resorted to theft of power but also played havoc with the power supply system by overloading it leading to the burning of a large number of transformers and other accidents. The board by officially accepting his invention after examining all its technical merits and demerits, minimised the power theft and burning of transformers.

Mr Suresh Gupta, Member (Transmission) of the board, said the PSEB adopted Mr Batish’s fourth line system officially and it was being implemented vigorously. It had reduced line losses and burning of transformers was far less. It was also proving far cheaper because the fourth line was added to the existing transmission system and no new parallel line had to be erected.

Mr Gupta further said that only after getting it calculated, he would be able to tell how much the board would be saving because of Mr Batish’s inventions.

Another senior engineer connected with the scheme said there would be a saving of at least Rs 1 lakh per village meaning thereby a minimum saving of Rs 120 crore as the number of villages was over 12,000 in the state. However, other engineers of the PSEB say that the overall saving, including reduction in line losses and burning of transformers etc, will be in the range of Rs 300 to 400 crore. It does not include the value of the time saved.

Mr Batish has also fabricated a single-phase transformer and it has been accepted by the PSEB. It will enable the board to supply single-phase power supply to farmhouses and a cluster of houses located away from the main village (human settlements). The board was facing a big problem in ensuring 24-hour power supply to such isolated places. Mr Batish is working on certain other projects also. He has spent a lot from his pocket during the past 10 years for doing research on his inventions.

Working as a Junior Engineer now in the South Subdivision of the PSEB at Patiala, Mr Batish wants to be posted as Junior Engineer (grade-1). It is nothing in view of his inventions. He deserves more, at least the status of a consultant with the Board for transmission of power in the state.

Mr Batish gives all credit to his instructor in the ITI, Mr Satpal Chopra, who was an outstanding teacher, and to Mr Suresh Gupta, who spared time to examine all his inventions and later helped to adopt these for the PSEB. Mr Harchand Singh Barsat, a former employee, also helped him a lot.

There are several in the board, however, who do not accept Mr Batish’s inventions graciously.


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