Poor maintenance of power infra causing mishaps, deaths

Power cables hanging loose on a tree

Power cables hanging loose on a tree

Anantapur-Sathya Sai: The snapping of high-tension cables and electrocution deaths are becoming common across the country, especially in farmlands, homes, industrial, commercial buildings and hospitals. Majority of electrical accidents such as fallen wires, snapped wires, “fire due to short-circuit” are caused due to unawareness and non-usage of recommended safety measures in the code of practices such as IS3043, IS732 and NEC.

Though India has been facing an increasing demand for electricity and moving towards the vision of Smart cities, on the other side, the rate of electrical incidents is frequent and media viewed ‘short-circuit’ as the main culprit of at least 65 percent of the total fire incidents. 15 animals die on average per day by electrocution in AP, which is the second highest in the country. Electricity is recognised as serious workplace hazard, exposing electric shock, thermal burns, fires, and explosions to human beings.

Six women agriculture labourers were electrocuted to death in district on Wednesday.

The incident occurred when a high-tension wire fell on the farm workers who were harvesting in the field in Dargah Honnur village in Bommanahal mandal. Some other workers were also injured in the accident. On receipt of the information, the police rushed to the scene and electricity department disconnected the power supply in the area.

All the victims were farm workers, who were travelling in tractor to work on castor and maize farms. In the accident, four daily wage workers were electrocuted after the tractor they were traveling in came in contact with live electric wires that were hanging loose and were killed instantaneously on Wednesday afternoon.

Two of them are stated to be admitted to a hospital near Bellary, died in the evening. Villagers said the electric line is just eight-feet height and due to unprecedented heavy rain, the cable line is not connected properly, more over the poles are mutilated and due to that the accident had occurred.

The villagers said that there is gross negligence on the part of the SPDCL and Transco in maintaining the wires.

Using data from the accidental deaths and suicides in India, the report put out by the National Crime Records Bureau, the NGOs report points out that 15,258 people died in 2020 due to electric shocks or fires and the annual general review of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the records put 7,717 fatal human accidents. So far, 957 electrocution deaths reported in AP.

In the first incident, where five labourers got burnt alive and three badly injured and still struggling. 11 Kv high-tension electric wire snapped at the insulator near a pole and fell on the vehicle carrying 10 passengers.

TRANSCO officials attributed it to squirrel. They said squirrel had fallen on the wire leading to a short-circuit and snapping of wire, the locals said the wire had three joints and was 50 years old.

Meanwhile Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Corporation (APSPDCL) Chairman and Managing Director K Santosh Rao has ordered an inquiry into the Dargah Honnur incident to find out the reasons behind the accident.

People’s organisations and the affected families of the deceased are demanding the government to properly maintain electrical infrastructure to prevent further such mishaps and deaths.

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