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Sunday, June 30, 2013

THE TRANSFORMER HOUSE IN OORGAUM KGF – An Excerpt from my book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE


The KGF Mines were supplied with electric power from Shivasamudram in 1902. It was the first time in Asia that electricity was generated and supplied, through a transmission line that was more than 80 miles long. It was the longest transmission line in the world at that time - the second longest was at the Niagara Falls which was only 13 miles long!



















THE TRANSFORMER HOUSE IN OORGAUM KGF – An Excerpt from my book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE

From the inception of the Kolar Gold Mines in 1880 until the year 1902 all the machinery in the Kolar Gold Mines were worked by steam power. Feeling the need for captive electric power, The John Taylor and Sons Company prevailed upon the British Government in Mysore to provide Electric power to the Company to meet its huge need for electricity, for running the machines and various other needs.
                         Accordingly, the Government of Mysore State decided in 1899 to utilise its natural water falls for producing electricity. They identified various sites but ultimately the site for setting up the power station was a point on the River Cauvery,  that was east of Mysore city and south of Bangalore where the river divided into two forming the island of Shivasamudram.
                             The Cauvery Power Scheme was thus initiated in 1900 by the Mysore Government, under K Seshadri Iyer, the then Diwan of Mysore. The credit however, for the Cauvery Falls Power Works was attributed to Captain Lotbiniere R.E., the then Deputy Chief Engineer of the Mysore Government.The initiating of the Cauvery Power Scheme has also been recorded in The Karnataka State Gazette, Mandya District as follows:  

The Mysore Government decided to investigate the practicality of generating power at Shivanasamudram Falls Site and enlisted the services of Colonel Campbell, the Chief Engineer at Madras for the same with the cooperation of the Madras Government. The Chief Engineer took a very favourable view of the potential of the project. In June 1899, the Deputy Chief Engineer of Mysore, after studying the details of the power installation at the Niagara Falls (in North America), was convinced of the idea of working the machinery at the Kolar Gold Fields with the electricity generated by the Cauvery falls. The scheme received the hearty support of Seshadri Iyer and Colonel Campbell.  M/S John Taylor & Sons of London, who had the general control on KGF also supported the scheme. The government decided to utilise the head of the falls for hydro-electric power and its transmission for the service of industrial undertaking in the state of Mysore, inclusive of KGF, in 1899 “.

The first major Hydro Electric Generating Station for commercial operations was thus commissioned at Shivasamudram, near Mysore, The longest transmission line, at the highest voltage in the world, was constructed exclusively to meet the power needs of mining operations at Kolar Gold Fields.

It has been further recorded in the Karnataka Gazetteer that:  quote “The first Hydroelectric power station in Asia was set up when the British Resident General Donald Robertson in Mysore launched the 700 KW Hydroelectric Station which transmitted power to KGF on 30th June 1902”.  Unquote.

An elaborate Transformer House was built in Oorgaum KGF to receive this 4000 H P power known as the Cauvery Falls Power House. The Transformer House which was centrally situated received the power and distributed it to the various mines.

 

It brought about a complete revolution in the working of the Mines.  Now, all the machinery in the mines both underground and on the surface and the Milling and stamping machinery were worked by electricity. The bungalows and houses of the officers were also provided with electricity and in course of time the whole of KGF was completely electrified.

 

KGF was thus supplied with electric power from Shivasamudram in 1902. It was the first time in Asia that electricity was generated and supplied, through a transmission line that was more than 80 miles long. It was the longest transmission line in the world at that time - the second longest was at the Niagara Falls which was only 13 miles long!


Read more about this in my Book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE

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