After HT reported a fire incident along Devi Lal Park in Sector 22 due to burning of leaves on May 5, the Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Limited (HVPNL) officials say frequent sparking in high-tension lines was the reason behind the incident. The agency, however, blamed the Haryana Urban Development Authority’s horticulture department, saying the fire could have been avoided if dry leaves were cleaned in the area regularly.
“Leaves and garbage close to the high-tension line caught fire and it subsequently spread to two other lines next to it,” said a senior HVPNL official.
An HVPNL official said such incidents are not unusual because green belts have ample amount of dry leaves, which are inflammable. “We cannot stop sparking on such lines,” said the official.
When contacted, Huda horticulture department official, Naresh Dahiya, said, “I am unaware of such incidents but weeds are cleared regularly.”
While the HVPNL and the Huda officials indulge in a blame game, residents suffer. Toxic fumes and foul odour emanating from the fire cause much inconvenience to people around.
General Satbir Singh, a resident of Sector 23, said that repeated requests to the Haryana government by residents regarding laying such power lines underground fell on deaf ears. Such high-tension wire sparking also caused a fire at a Huda green belt next to an sub-station in Sector 23A.
“As per norms, it is mandatory to prune trees every quarter in green belts that have electric poles to ensure that dry leaves do not accumulate,” Singh said.
“They dug 3-4 pits for leaves about three months ago. But the horticulture department officials are not bothered to fill the pits regularly,” said Aseem Takyar, RTI activist and resident of Sector 23A.
Takyar has filed an RTI to know if there is a policy to dispose of the leaves.