Saturday, November 9, 2013


 Ezhilampala (Indian Devil tree.)

The smell, that, comes from a tree named Alstonia Scholaris or Saptaparni or Ezhilampala (Indian devil tree) attracts the people of Delhi on the onset of winter. The presence of this tree just near to my office attracts people by smell of flowers and can be felt even 100 meters away. The tree bears a fruit which ripens and break open at night, spreading the aroma and the pollen. In Indian mythology, Yakshi the female goddess associated with the fertility of the earth, love, and beauty lives in Ezhilampala

                       In Kerala Yakshi is a very popular folklore character. Similar characters are known in many parts of the world. While the Yakshi of Kerala folklore prefers white robes, similar characters, the Scottish and Malaysian prefer green apparels. It is said that whenever a Yakshi appears there would be fragrance of Jasmine or Pala (Alstonia scholaris) - common name Indian devil tree.
                                                 A soft-stemmed tree with highly fragrant tiny flowers that open during night. Seven leaves arise from a single nod and several braches start from the same joint giving the tree a particular shape. Fruits are long shell that hangs in clusters. Ezhilampala is believed to be the habitat of fairies by Indian myths! The fragrance of its flower is sweet when light but causes giddiness when smelled; may be the reason for this innocent tree being called devil tree!

This Ezhilampala is a dwelling place for parrots, dove, squirrel, crows, humming bird, pea cock apart from  Yakshi!!.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


                                                              The northern state of India - Himachal Pradesh have the benefit of two narrow gauge Rail tracks - Kalka/Shimla and Pathankot/Jogindernagar. Kalka Shimla toy train run on these treks popularly called 'Toy Trains' by the tourists. Roundabout on Shimla toy train is a stimulating experience as one passes through the breathtaking landscapes of splendid Himalayas, tunnels, bridges and fertile green dale embroidered with pine, oak trees, leaving a long lasting memory of ecstasy and accomplishment.

At Shimla Station
                                                 The longest tunnel in the route is named after Barog, the engineer, responsible for scheming a tunnel near the railway station. He started digging the tunnel from both sides of the mountain, which is relatively common as it hustles up construction. However, he made mistake in calculation and the two ends of the tunnel did not meet. Barog was fined an amount of 1 Rupee by the then British government. This is equivalent to millions of dollars today. 
                                     Unable to withstand the embarrassment, Barog committed suicide. He was buried near the incomplete tunnel. The area came to be known as Barog after him and the tunnel is called unlucky tunnel. It is said that his dog upon seeing his master bleeding profusely ran in panic to a village, near the present Barog railway station, for help. However, by the time people reached the spot, Barog had breathed his last. There are different versions about the suicide as some say the dejected engineer shot his dog before he shot himself. He was buried in front of the tunnel, near the Kalka-Shimla national highway, about 1 km from Barog. It is now even difficult to locate the whereabouts of the dejected tunnel which has now been closed.


Later the mantle fell on Chief Engineer H.S. Harrington's supervison escorted by a local learned, Bhalku, in a short period from July 1900 to September 1903 at a cost 8.40 Lakh rupees (Rupees 840,000).This tunnel is the longest of the 103 operational tunnels on the route of the Shimla-Kalka Railway, which is 1143.61m long. Barog station is right away after the tunnel. Barog tunnel is the straightest tunnel in the World.Trains takes about 2.5 minutes to cross this tunnel, running at 25 kilometres per hour.Trains take about 2.5 minutes to cross this tunnel, running at 25 kilometres per hour.


                                                 JOURNEY THRO' JUNGLE.
Kalka Shimla Toy Train has about 7 coaches that can accommodate least 200 passengers in a single trip. The diversities of challenging weather do not extricate the pertinacity of the 700 horsepower B-B type diesel engines. They run vigorously taking up the hazards of adverse weather conditions - temperatures ranging from 0 to 25°C, heavy snowfall -average recording 2 feet during winters, and the annual rainfall of 2000-2500 mm, professed by the valley. The train acquires up a moderate average speed of 25-30 km throughout its passage imparting its travelers to delight in the full magnificence of the pleasing valley. 

Perhaps this is the only train in India which waited for me to finish my refreshments at Barog station  !       

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Past, Present and Future of Single Phase Metering In India.

With the implementation of RGGVY scheme, the requirement of single phase meters has become more and more. The financially crunched utilities are struggling hard to buy good quality meters  with communication  facility , as returns from these meters are meager ,but at the same time they have to come up with the technology for electrical meters underway  in  many  other  countries.  Here an attempt is made to go through various phases of this sector over the past few decades and years to come.
                  From the century old rotating wheel or Ferraris meter or    electro mechanical meter,   Utilities   in   India are following the trend in utilities in other parts of the world. With the advent of electronics and IT, the technology behind electrical meters underway tremendously but there is still many unanswered questions surrounding the best implementation system.
          The statistics about metering in India is quite astonishing. One of our neighboring states has about 5 million mechanical meters still in service.30 per cent of the meters in India are still with counter type display system on which any tampering can be done. Many utililities have just only stopped purchasing electro-mechanical meters. Now the utilities are considering LCD meters as the most sophisticated one’s as many readings can be obtained at the same time. With this background an effort is made to analyze the latest status of metering in India .Since India lives in villages and electrification of villages have not landed up anywhere, only single phase metering are discussed.
                                 From electro mechanical meters the first development was static meters with ADE 7751 chips., being the first tolerant electronic meters by Analog Devices, monitoring both phase and neutral current and billing is based on the larger reading. Indian market also attracted towards it, by utilities changing their specifications to incorporate such features into tender documents. It also became a way for utilities to improve efficiency and for meter manufacturers to differentiate their designs.
          The next development was ADE 7761 meter in which brought new concept of attending neutral missing. During these days the meters were neither electromechanical nor electronic but ‘hyrid’  in nature having the draw back of both.
          By this time, Indian Power sector has adopted a new concept of AT&C losses leaving behind the age old concept of T&D losses.Low metering efficiency, tampering etc. were the main loss for the utilities. Through out the development of electronic energy meter, India has stood out as a feature rich, cost driven market where producing a meter that meets the advanced specifications the lowest cost is essential for the success.

Metering today
The  need for rich specification meters at very low cost has driven the single-phase metering market to widely adopt the system-on-chip (SoC) solution, which has rapidly become more popular than a two-chip solution .  SoC technology combines the metering metrology with a low cost microcontroller and peripherals into a single package, thus reducing the overall cost of the meter. The SoC has met mixed success in various regions of the world.

          A full range of measurement of active, reactive and apparent energy measurement is required to be done to prevent the various malpractices adopted by the consumers. This may be added up with a LCD driver also as a precaution. The presence of external battery input and related circuits ensures the system function in the absence of voltages also. Thus the simplified design along with ability to note down reading even in the absence of power has made the system acceptable to all utilities. Many meter manufacturers have come up with design suitable to above solutions.
The future
The automated meter reading (AMR) network have provided sufficient incentives for many utilities to  commence    wide - scale  deployments of such technology.KSEB is yet to commence AMR.Apart from metering cost, removal of existing meter, replace with AMR etc will be saved by the savings in man power required to manually read the meter. But due to the comparatively less labour rate in Inda, it’s possible when many utilities abroad done with high labour cost. A two way communication would also help to facilitate whether a particular consumer has to be disconnected or not. A lot of man power can be effectively utilized by adopting to AMR.When communication is incorporated, memory requirements also comes to play. This may be arrived in consultation with utility as it may vary from place to place. Thus before Indian utilities a number of options are available as far as single phase energy meter is concerned.
The reality
                                             The RGGVY scheme has revealed astonishing figures in certain states like Arunachal Pradesh,UP,Bihar,Jharkhand,Assam,Orissa etc where majority of the house holds are still not electricfied.This shows the  future of single phase energy meter is quite reasonable in India. But it remains to be seen that how many   financially crunched states and utilities would change to such high end meters at the expense of few thousands and  that would fetch only  a couple of hundreds as revenue and this I apprehend  may lead to again hybrid meters and Ferrari meters to trust worthy consumers which will  continue to play a key role at least for a decade in Indian power sector.