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Depts claim deaths are not their fault

Six deaths and two grievous injuries later, various government departments, from the BSES and the MCD to the Delhi Police, are trying to pin the blame on other.

delhi Updated: Jul 14, 2010 00:02 IST
Jatin Anand

Six deaths and two grievous injuries later, various government departments, from the BSES and the MCD to the Delhi Police, are trying to pin the blame on other.

As each shirks responsibility for the accidents, Delhiites can be very clear about one fact, if you are looking for shelter when it rains in the city, you risk getting electrocuted to death.

According to the police, two school students were electrocuted while playing at a local park in central Delhi and two adults, while seeking shelter below a police post in north Delhi, within minutes of each other during Monday evening's storm. One victim was killed and the other grievously injured in each case.

Four other deaths due to electrocution were reported across the city, two from north Delhi and two from Mansarovar Garden in northwest Delhi.

"My son Amit had left home to play with his cousin Naveen at the colony park around 7 p.m. last evening never to return again," said 13-year-old Amit's inconsolable father Radhey Shyam at the funeral site in Baljeet Nagar.

Amit was the eldest of four children.

"Amit got stuck to three underground electrical wires at the local park, while Naveen got stuck to the pole. My friend Paras and I were rushing home after work when we saw the boys. We had to hit them with wet, wooden lathis to pry them away," said Mukesh Kumar Jha, an electrician who risked his own life to try and save Amit and Naveen's.

The two boys were taken to Ganga Ram Hospital. Naveen is still recovering. A badly burnt Amit was pronounced dead on arrival. In North Delhi, 45-year-old Ram Kumar Mishra, a roadside photo album vendor, got electrocuted to death in Chandni Chowk's Dariba Kalan. He was trying to save his merchandise from the rains by taking shelter under a police post.

"The rain was so sudden that we just packed our things and ran for cover. My uncle picked as many photo albums as he could, and ran towards the police post. He got electrocuted when he leaned against the metallic structure," said Narender Yadav (25), Ram Kumar's nephew.

The kin of all victims blamed the authorities for the deaths. "We have been complaining against live wires in the park to both the BSES and the MCD for more than a year, but no one listens," said Naveen's father.

Sources in the power department said someone from the police chowki was tapping electricity from the main feeder line at Dariba Kalan; discom BSES Yamuna did not comment on such a claim.

BSES Yamuna's CEO, Ramesh Narayanan, said, "The rains and electricity are a deadly combination. People should be very careful while approaching public lighting structures because water around them could remain charged and cause accidents." Additional DCP (North) R.K. Jha said: "We do not have anything to do with the structure at Dariba Kalan. Some linemen from the BSES had cut a wire and left it loose that is why the incident occurred."

Police said that a case of attempt to murder had been registered against unknown persons in both cases.