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Misuse of Indian standards and Propaganda Business (e.g. Large metro rail project)

Updated: Sep 10, 2023

Several large-scale projects in India, manufacturers/suppliers propagandas are being used in subjects related to safety, and reliability. Compliance to all known and recognized national/international practices are violated.

One classic example is the use of Earthing in metro rail projects. The following case study is from Chennai Metro Rail (source - tender documents) designed by M/S SYSTRA RAIL.

Tender specification

earthing standards
Fig: Code and standards referred in tender

The propaganda by software companies who promote IEEE80 are the main reason for such foolish, unreliable and completely non-compliant solution used in these metro railway projects. (Sorry to use these harsh words as there are no better words to explain this illogical and nonscientific idea, insisted by a world-renowned consultant for Chennai metro rail). Tender specifications can be downloaded from the following links.

Earthing specification for signaling installations funny and strange
Download PDF • 3.51MB
drawingearth mat clean earth
Download PDF • 486KB
drawingearthmat 2 for neutral, 2 for body
Download PDF • 653KB
PPT misuse & propaganda business
Download PDF • 2.10MB

Note: refer the tender specifications and calculations included in the above documents to understand the below figure.


According to the calculations included in the tender by M/S SYSTRA MVA CONSULTING (INDIA) PVT.LTD, an earth fault in Low Voltage powerline (230 volt) produces a GPR of above 15kV. Two large sized earth mats are constructed under the metro railway station, one for LV electrical system and another for clean earth.

Note: GPR is Ground Potential Raise, means the voltage between the faulty place and remote earth.

ground potential raise
Fig: GPR and the illogical idea

The system recommended in the tender not only meet the Indian standards, but all standards mentioned in the tender. The tender specification looks like a collection of fancy sentences from several standards.

Video about the subject presented before 250 + participants can be viewed below.


In these metro rail projects where the soil resistivity is about 30 ohm-M (highly corrosive soil) tons of earth enhancing compounds are also used.

This tender is a classic example of believing the propaganda of software companies who promote IEEE80.

The propogandists fail in informing the customer that

  1. IEEE80 is a Guide. Not an IEEE standard or a recommended practice.

  2. IEEE Guides are documents in which alternative approaches to good practice are suggested but no clear-cut recommendations are made.

  3. Definition of substation in USA is different than what we generally use in India.

  4. IEEE 80 is educated as the Holy solution for all earthing problems in India, irrespective of the operating voltage, which leads to big mistakes in projects of national interest.

For more information on various IEEE documents read IEEE SA - Standards Board Operations Manual – Clause 1

As a result, these software companies are spoiling the reputation of IEEE 80.

Some highlights from specification are as below,

1. A grid as per IEEE 80 is constructed underground and is used for Low Voltage application.

Comment: This is ridiculous.

2. The soil resistivity mentioned is 30 ΩM. The earth electrodes are to be encased with earth enhancement material of 0.12 ΩM.

Comment: This enhancement material only increases the corrosion of the electrode. 30 ΩM itself is a low resistivity and is of highly corrosive in nature.

3. The drawings show the conventional “TWO FOR NEUTRAL, TWO FOR BODY”. This is either due to the unawareness of the designer or favoring some vendors.

Comment: The designer not only violate the standards mentioned in the tender but provide a wrong and bad impression about the standards and regulations of India.

Unfortunately, such wrong tender specifications once created will be followed in several projects, for decades without any scrutiny. This system once installed underground cannot be rectified again, which means the metro rail shall live with this junk for its lifetime. These installations survive due to mere luck rather than reliability.

As the first corrective step, all designers shall strictly follow IS standards, if not IEC standards as recommended in the current CEA safety regulations.

The above referred tender specification is a complete violation of safety regulations of Govt of India. Government shall have some mechanism to penalize the designers of these wrong designs and get compensation from them. Remember similar design is followed in several projects.


Misuse of Indian Standard: Indian standard IS 732 is based on IEC 60364. Unfortunately, in 99 % of industrial and commercial Low Voltage installations in India, the word electrical safety exists only in paper, More than 75 % electrical safety written rules in IS732 standards are unknown to the industry.

Remember in USA, NEC (NFPA70) is mandatorily followed as a fundamental requirement.

However, in India the propogandists, educate only the areas which is of their interest. As a result, the fundamental requirements as per IS732 is neglected (rather unknown).

global electrical standards
Fig: Electrical Safety standards for global use

Neglecting the Indian standards, which are often better than others, and running behind American, European and British standards is one serious factor spoiling our nationalism.

Companies often do it protect their business interest, but we don’t understand why Indian consultants and contractors who doesn’t have any connection with international interest do such mistakes.


Electrical Safety in India will improve only if the propagandas are understood well by the electrical engineering community and start implementing the fundamental safety measures as per the Indian standards.


Prepared and published by

S. Gopa Kumar

Campaign Director


IEC - TC64: (Safety, Protection against shock) MT 3, MT 12, MT40, MT 41, PT 60364-8-3, WG 43

TC81: (Lightning protection) ahG 19, MT 3, MT 14, MT 21, WG 18

SC 37 A: (L V SPD’s) WG3 & WG

BIS - National Building Code-2016 (electrical committee),

ETD 20 (NEC, IS732, IS3043), ETD 30, ETD 50

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