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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Power corporation putting lives on the line?

Anupam Srivastava, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, July 23, 2013
First Published: 11:14 IST(23/7/2013) | Last Updated: 11:16 IST(23/7/2013)

Despite crores being spent over the years by the state power corporation on installation of safety systems, cases of deaths due to short circuits or breaking of wires abound.

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If sources are to be believed, this is because the systems are not well maintained.

LESA officials though admit this is a serious issue, they are quick to blame the victims for walking dangerously close to electricity wires or, in the case of linesmen, not using proper gear at work.

An official of LESA, on the condition of anonymity, said,

“These deaths could have been averted if all the safety systems were well maintained by the substation staff. The circuit breakers at substation are not working properly due to poor upkeep. In case of breaking of wires, short circuit or over loading, there is a relay, which informs the system that the current is broken at some point and the supply is stopped. It seems this system is not being taken care of in a proper manner.”

Often safety equipments are not maintained and tested on regular basis. Ideally, all safety equipment and strength of wires must be tested every 15 days, but this rarely happens.

Talking of linesmen, they still use the same tools that were in practice around 40 years back.

“Ideally, any staff member who climbs the ladder to reach the pole must wear a helmet, gloves and proper shoes and carry an earthing chain to check whether the line is live or not. The supporting staff must carry a wooden rod in case any electrocution occurs. But usually no one is provided these gears and life of men in field are put to risk,” said a source.

The LESA officials have failed in providing proper training to the field staff, he added.

Managing director of Madhyanchal discom AP Mishra said any death is unfortunate and cause of the latest mishaps would be probed.

“I have already directed the engineers to focus on maintenance of safety equipment. Any laxity in this work would not be tolerated,’’ said Mishra.

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