Chief Minister inaugurated the free software programme of Kerala State Electricity Board “Oruma” at Co-Bank Towers, Thiruvananthapuram on 10th March 2008. It came as the culmination of the vision to liberate Government organizations like K.S.E.B from the clutches of Digital Rights Management (DRM) - enabled products. This is also a turning point at application level in the information technology sector in the State. An attempt at computerization of K.S.E.B made by the U.D.F. Government using Microsoft had ended in total confusion. The audit of KSEB accounts revealed that the Board incurred a loss of Rs. 70 crores due to the confusion and anomalies in the bills.
The LDF Government has had a change of perception and scrapped the Microsoft programme and decided that the Board might very well use a programme to be developed by its own personnel using free software.
Inaugural Function of ORUMA (Click on the photo to enlarge)
In the first stage a Data Entry Software was developed by Board employees in three months and used it in Sreevaraham electrical section in April 2007. Subsequently this Data Entry programme under Free Software is being extended to all sections use of Data Entry programme is needed for further computerization. 15 employees of KSEB were given training in free software. The programme developed by this group was first experimented successfully in the Kanyakulangara electrical section in August 2007. Finding the programme a success, the Board adopted it in a few more electrical sections. Now arrangements are being made to install ‘Oruma’ programme in 250 electrical sections in the State. By December,2008 all electrical sections in the State will function with Oruma Software Programme.
Chief Minister presents momento to ORUMA Team (Click on the photo to enlarge)
Making of ORUMA- Video
‘Oruma’, as this platform of billing system is called, was developed by the KSEB with its own expertise. Trials in actual operational environment have shown it quite superior to the platform on proprietary software 'JYOTHI' developed by the KSEB in 2003 with hired expertise.
The KSEB will also save Rs.9.5 crore on licence fee and software upgrading because of the shift to free software.
ORUMA Video - Manorama News
The KSEB Officers’ Association and a group of independent software experts had come out against the “hidden costs” and also the “errors” in the platform on proprietary software at the time of its pilot launch in 2003. The study report of KSEB Officers' Association in this regard is available for free download. Downloads: 6826 2006-09-17
Study report on LT Billing computerisation in KSEB
In 2003, Kerala state electricity Board implemented a LT billing software named 'JYOTHI' on proprietary Microsoft platform with hired expertise.
The KSEB Officers’ Association had come out against the “hidden costs” and also the “errors” in the platform on proprietary software at the time of its pilot launch in 2003 and the study report attracted much public attention.