E.C.A.M PLATINUM JUBILEE – MEMORIES
BY SHRI SAILESH DOCTOR AND SHRI HOSI MASTER
AS ON 22-01-2000
The ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS’ ASSOCIATION OF MAHARASHTRA, MUMBAI, has carved a niche for itself, in the annals of Electrical Contracting fraternity, by virtue of which, it has rightfully established its claim to be the foremost, perpetually reputed and the only one of its kind of PIONEERING ASSOCIATION in the whole of India. With the heralding of the new MILLENNIUM, E.C.A.M. triumphantly marches into its PLATINUM JUBILEE YEAR in January,2000.
The advent of electricity, at the beginning of last millennium, has revolutionised the lives of mankind. The harnessing of Electrical Power and its widespread utilisation in all the spheres of endeavour and enterprise, has resulted in a phenominal impact upon both, rural and urban lifestyles, in a manner beyond the wildest dreams of humans, since the dawn of civilisation.
Electricity has become such an integral and indispensable feature in all facets of life, that even the mere thought of life without electricity is an anathema on the human race. It has also become the most vital infrastructure all over the world, upon which, is built the edifice of universal growth and development. Any increase in the installed generating capacity in the country, has a profound bearing upon the GNP of the country, since, the very commencement of work associated with this increase, sets into motion, a complex chain of events, which both, directly and indirectly contribute to the progress and prosperity of the nation. In fact,the percapita consumption of electricity, has become an index for gauging the economic well-being and development of any society.
The advantages of electrification in the slums in cities, has created such a striking imprint upon its usage, that even the remotest of rural villages are now being electrified, thereby bestowing upon those, whom Rabindranath Tagore had referred to as “the poorest, the lowest and the lost”, the infinite benefits brought about by electricity.
In this laudable task of emancipating the down trodden from darkness and misery with the help of electricity, the fraternity of Licensed Electrical Contractors continue to contribute significantly in administering to the needs of all types of consumers VIZ: domestic, commercial, industrial, agricultural, public and utility services etc. Hence, the Licensed Electrical Contractor, constitutes a vital live wire link between the consumer and the chain comprising of generation, transmission, distribution and utilisation of electrical energy.
The Association has not only witnessed, but has also participated in the advent of electricity, whereat it was viewed as a luxury and being marketed aggressively, whence it was freely available to the vicissitudes over the years whereby it has become a coveted and somewhat scarce commodity, enjoining upon the Licensed Electrical Contractor to play a leading and pragmatic role in the field of energy conservation through the efficient utilisation of electrical energy.
E.C.A.M. looks forward to providing greater skills to its august members, whereby with the help of the State-of-art technology, its members would continue to provide exemplary services in the field of electrical distribution and utilisation, in a most efficient and cost effective manner, thereby furthering the cause of energy conservation and rendering yeoman service to humanity at large.
GENESIS AND ORIGIN:
As our Chronicles tell us that Bombay had its first electric light SWITCHED ON from 11th September 1905, THROUGH a thermal electrical power generating station at Wadi Bunder, which was installed and commissioned by the Brush Electrical Engineering Co. Ltd., who were the Agents in India of the British Electric Traction Company, under “The Bombay Electric Licence, 1905:”granted by the then Government of Bombay under the Indian Electricity Act,1903, on June 13th,1905. In those early days, the number of electrical consumers were just 107 as against over 10,00,000 now. The number of units then sold were just 26.
On December 15th, 1905, the Bombay Electric Supply & Tramways Co. Ltd., a joint stock company incorporated in England, took over the Assets of the above company, and thus became responsible for Generation, Transmission,Distribution and Supply of electric power in Mumbai. The B.E.S.&T Co. Ltd., as it was then known, was itself an offshoot of the Bombay Tramways Co. Ltd., which was floated in New York, and registered in Bombay in March 1873,and which commenced a Tramway service in 1874, drawn by Horses, to be later Electrified on May 7th, 1907, by the B.E.S & T. Co. Ltd., its successor company.
Bombay however, was not the first to receive, and benefit from the boon of Electricity. The credit goes to Darjeeling, where the first hydro-electric plant was commissioned in India on November 10th, 1897.
Three years later, Mysore followed suit, harnessing waters of the River Cauvery and was then the first in India, having the longest length of Transmission of electrical energy, electrifying the Kolar Gold Mines, some 90 miles away.
Bombay also joined the race in the development of massive hydro-electric potential of the Western Ghats. Shri Jamshedji Tata, the wizard and pioneer of industrial revolution in our country, had foreseen and visualised its tremendous possibilities and prospects in the later half of the 19th century. It was, however, left to his sons, Sir Ratan Tata and Sir Dorab Tata, to transform this cherished dream into a live and throbbing reality.
It was then in 1906 the illustrious House of Tatas launched into this line. The electricity commenced flowing into the Parel Receiving Station, Bombay, around, 1915 supplementing the power generated by B. E. S. & T. Co. Ltd., at its thermal power house at Kussara Road, where it had shifted in 1911, when it was found that the space available at its first thermal power house at Wadi Bunder was inadequate. The B.E.S.& T. Co. Ltd., not only had its own acilities for generation of power, but also purchased power for supplying electricity in Bombay. For exactly 19 years and 4 months the programme of power generation continued. But, when it was realised that it was cheaper to purchase power from the TATAS, the B.E.S.T. permanently shut down its power generation on 11th January 1925 and completely switched over to receiving and supplying power to Bombay City, from the house of TATAS.
What started as a trickle in 1905, when the first generating station was set up in Bombay, reached a respectable level of 1362 MW all over the country by the day of Independence in 1947. This included about 500 MW of Hydro power. After Independence, the central government started 5-year plans to develop and expand the electrical infrastructure. During the next 5 years the capacity doubled to 2695 MW by 1955 and thereafter the growth has been continuous. By March 1996, for which the accurate figures are available, the installed capacity was 83,288 MW with annual generation of 3,80,084 million units.
The systematic growth over the period can be seen from the following data:
|Annual||Year Capacity in MW Consumption in M.U.|
|1960- 61||4653 16937|
All India average; i.e. per capita electricity consumption was around 81 Kwh in 1970-71. Over the period of last 28 years this has increased to about 430 Kwh. The usage of electricity in Maharashtra has increased much more and matched that of the country. The Genenration capacity reached over 10,000 MW with annual energy generation of 5,20,780 million Kwh in 1995-96. The per capita consumption of electricity in Maharashtra itself increased from a mere 153 Kwh in 1970-71, to over 500 Kwh during 1994-95. The city of Mumbai, where the electricity was first made available in Maharashtra, has recorded per capita consumption of 1061Kwh units. The corresponding figure for the Greater Mumbai area is somewhat lower.
Even at this stage, the electricity consumption in this region is far below international averages. The State and the Central Governments have planned quantum increase in additional generation capacity during the forthcoming decade. A substantial part of this may be achieved by multinationals, who are setting up plants under the IPP projects.
The peak demand and energy requirements, as projected by CEA, for the next five years are as under:
|Year||Peak Demand In MW||Annual Consumption In MU|
The generation capacity would naturally have to be about 20% higher. The increase in the living standard would similarly affect the Mumbai area.
At that time, Electrical wiring jobs, were the jobs done by those early hopefuls, even though they did not have any specialised nor theoretical knowledge and practical training, had that robust commonsense, exemplifying the saying : “EXPERIENCE IS A GREATER TEACHER THAN EDUCATION” or “ PRACTICE IS BETTER THAN PRECEPT”. With remarkable aptitude, ability and adaptability, they picked up ample adequate experience and expertise to launch this career, which ultimately crystallised into a newly rewarding profession of monetary benefits.
Such professions always acted as a veritable magnet to all, with the usual consequence of a virtual scramble for a limited number of jobs and consequent cut-throat competition among those in line, giving rise to unhealthy tendencies that manifest themselves, resulting in a vicious circle of unmitigating and unreediming mal-practices.
To set this matter right, as it were, the Licensing Board came into existence in 1924. A notification was issued by the then Government of Bombay, the jurisdiction of which extended from Sind to Cutch in the north and to the Deccan in the South, on September 18th, 1924, declaring its intention to register Electrical Contractors and Wiremen. Such a registration, it was hoped, would help to regularise, standardise, and improve the then existing conditions in electrical contracting trade. The Licensing Board’s first meeting was held on December 19th, 1924.
This very idea, kindled a small spark at that time, amongst those in the profession, which enthused a remarkable foresight and vision, amongst some of the prominent practicing Electrical Contractors of the then Bombay city, leading them to close ranks and issue a Public Appeal, through the medium of Press, inviting all those engaged in the electrical wiring and Contracting fraternity, to attend a meeting at Muzafferabad Hall, Grant Road, Bombay, on Saturday, 10th January, 1925.
The convenors of this meeting were the great pathfinders and pioneers of the likes of :
1.Shri N. B. Desai of M/s Imperial Electric Trading Co.,
2.Shri Ishwarlal Bhogilal Damania of M/s Damania Electric & Engineering Works.
3.Shri Natverlal R. Khambhati of M/s Trinity Electric Syndicate.
4.Shri B. Ram Hari of M/s Malik Electric Works.
5.Shri Khemchand Mody of M/s K. E. Mehta & Company.
E.C.A.M. owes its birth to the foresight of these pioneers. As has been recorded by Shri Natverlal R. Khambhati, one of the Convenors of the meeting :
“The meeting was attended by members of the Electrical Contracting Trade, as well as numerous freelance wiremen working on small electric jobs. Those were the days, when anybody who could wield a pair of pliers and use a screw driver, became a wiring contractor, but all those workers in the electrical contracting trade, came together on the issue raised by the Government, and decided to unite and form themselves into a well-knit Organisation, whose aim was to adopt Standards of high business morality and skilled workmanship in persuance of their Activities”.
The proceedings of this Historic Meeting, have been recorded in our Minutes Book, which can briefly be summarised as follows :
Shri K.S.Gazdar occupied the Chair. Shri Natverlal R.Khambhati explained Rules framed by the Government for Licensing of wiring Contractors and wiremen, etc. ,Shri N. B. Desai explained Rules for the ASSOCIATION OF WIRING CONTRACTORS.(This was the nomenclature under which our Association functioned in the initial stages.)
The General Meeting concluded with a vote of thanks to the chair.
Hence the first Founder Members of our Association were as follows :
M/s. Imperial Electric & Trading Co… Shri N. B. Desai.
M/s. Trinity Electric Syndicate………… Shri Natverlal R.Khambhati
M/s. K. L. Mehta & Company ………………………. Shri Khemchand Mody.
M/s. Malik Electric Works …………………………..Shri B.Ram Hari.
M/s. Excelsior Electric Company……………. Shri V.M.Thanawalla.
M/s. Eruchshaw & Company……………………………. Shri Eruchshaw.
M/s. C. Sunderlal & Company
M/s. Sunita & Company.
M/s. Eastern Electric Light & Power Co.Ltd………….. ………Shri K. S.Gazdar
M/s.Federal Electric Company
M/s.Industrial Electric Company.
After the conclusion of this historic general meeting, the business of the formation of the working committee commenced, in right earnest, with the following results :-
Shri K. S.Gazdar was proposed to the Chair, since he was tipped to assume charge as the First Founder President of the Association.
Shri N. B. Desai became the First Founder Vice President.
Shri B. Ram Hari became the First Founder Secretary.
Shri Khemchand Modi became the First Founder Treasurer.
The following Gentlemen were proposed as members of the Working Committee of the Association :-
Shri Natverlal R. Khambhati,
Shri Nowroji M. Adajania,
Shri R. M. Marshall,
Shri S. M. Pavri,
Shri A. U. Khilji,
Shri A. U. Bilihomji,
Shri N. G. Tolat,
Apart from four Office Bearers mentioned above
M/s Payne & Co., became the Solicitors of the Association ;
Bank of India were proposed to act as our Association’s Bankers ;
Shri K. S. Gazdar was appointed as a Nominee of the Association, to serve on the Board of Examiners, set up by the Government for the Year 1925;
Shri P. Moiz was proposed as the Auditor of the Association for the Year 1925,
The Office of the Association was proposed to be located at7-11,Petit Building,
Elphinstone Circle, Fort, Bombay.
ShriNatverlal R. Khambhati became the First Founder Joint Secretary of the