Twenty-seven deaths, 48 injuries in the last four years: yet the Delhi government refuses to wake up to the perils of high-tension wires and put in place and implement a proper policy to remove them.
A quick survey on Saturday showed that a number of houses in the city are perilously close to the wires, posing a serious threat to the safety of residents -- a danger that the authorities refuse to acknowledge.
In 2011, more than 37 persons were injured after a high-tension electricity wire snapped and collapsed on a cluster of huts in northeast Delhi’s Khajuri Khas.
The Khajuri Khas incident, though not an isolated one, failed to set the alarm bells ringing with the power department progressing at a snail’s pace in removing such wires or in some cases demolishing houses that were near such wires.
Sources said though the government had initiated several efforts to regularize unauthorized colonies of the city, it had done next to nothing in securing them from high-tension wires that passed through their localities.
In fact, most of the newly approved unauthorized colonies were facing this problem as they had been approved without putting proper infrastructure in place.
“We had come up with the policy four years ago and so far we have utilized 25 per cent of MLA funds in removing these wires that are 66 KV and below. We have received requests from 17 more MLAs to remove such overhead wires from their constituencies,” said a senior Delhi government official.
The issue of removal of such high-tension wires has been raised in the Assembly a number of times.
The MLAs have also complained about the fact that power distribution companies had served notices in a number of areas that were in close proximity to the high-tension wires, asking them to clear out.
According to power department officials, as many as 137 notices had been served to several houses that were violating the provision of maintaining proper distance. In the last four years alone, 34 cases of electrocution due to high-tension wires had been reported with the authorities arresting 11 persons for negligence.
"Apart from rules related to high-tension wires, there is a regulation that a 35-metre corridor around the transformer must be free of any kind of construction work. But people have violated rules by constructing houses around the transformer that sometimes leads to sparks in the high-tension wires,” added the official.