If you look at the statistics compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau on the number of deaths caused by electrocution in the country in the last six years, you will realize that there is no improvement in the situation at all.
In fact, compared to the years 2007 and 2008, where the number of such deaths was 8,076 and 8,067, respectively, the numbers went up to 8,945 in 2011 and 8,750 in 2012.
And already this year, a large number of consumers around the country have become victims of callous disregard to safety exhibited by power supply companies.
In Churu district in Rajasthan, for example, six boys were electrocuted and 22 burnt, when a bus in which they were travelling came in contact with a live wire.
In Johan village in Madhya Pradesh, one villager was killed and two others suffered burns from live wires.
What was most tragic was that the electricity department’s lineman had asked them to help him fix some faulty lines and even as they were complying, someone had ‘by mistake’ re-started the power supply.
In Guwahati (Assam), a woman was electrocuted by a live wire lying on the pavement when she was returning from the market.
In the national Capital, already three people have died on coming in contact with live wires. In the case of 25-year-old Rajiv Sharda, a resident of Mahavir Enclave in Delhi who was electrocuted while on his way to the nearby market, the National Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the Delhi Chief Secretary, Delhi government and the power company, asking them to submit a report within four weeks.
More such suo-motu action is needed from the NHRC and the State Human Rights Commissions to force the service providers, regulators and the state governments to pay heed to safety. Or else, the number of electrocution deaths will not come down.
Last year, while upholding a complaint of negligence against the Ajmer Vidyut Vitran Nigam, the Apex Consumer Court had warned the power supply and distribution companies that they have an obligation under the Indian Electricity Act, to maintain all lines and equipment in such a manner as to prevent any kind of a mishap.
Those who fail to do so would be liable for the consequences, the Commission had said.
In this case, live wires hanging low from a transformer had caused such severe injury to 11-year-old Sunil Kumar that doctors had to amputate a leg and an arm to save him.
The National Consumer Commission in this case directed the child’s grandfather, who had filed the case, to invest Rs 8 lakh out of the compensation amount of Rs 10 lakh in a fixed deposit till the boy became an adult.