Fair drew power illegally
LOCAL POWER officials allegedly chose to turn a blind eye to open pilferage of electricity by organisers of the Meerut fair. The organisers had flouted all electricity safety norms, and this is precisely what ultimately led to the tragedy.india Updated: Apr 12, 2006 01:13 IST
LOCAL POWER officials allegedly chose to turn a blind eye to open pilferage of electricity by organisers of the Meerut fair. The organisers had flouted all electricity safety norms, and this is precisely what ultimately led to the tragedy.
The entire ‘Brand India Show Exhibition’, with 1,000 stalls spread over a covered area of 20,000 sq ft at Victoria Park, was drawing electricity illegally for the last five days. Generator sets were kept there only for back-up. As per rules, the organisers should have taken a temporary power connection for the event. A huge power load was required to run hundreds of air-conditioners and other electronic gadgets on display at the exhibition.
It was not as if the organisers had not applied for a temporary connection. They had very much applied for a 1500 KW connection, but it was not released due to organisers failing to fulfill some formalities.
“They had not submitted a certificate from the electricity safety inspector,” Paschimanchal (Meerut) electricity distribution company managing director Alok Sinha told the HT on the phone from Meerut.
Sinha said he had had got things examined by deputy general manager AK Jain and sent a report to the government on Tuesday evening.
An important question that arises here is how the power officials concerned, right from the junior engineer to the executive engineer, allowed illegal use of electricity at the trade fair. More so when they were quite aware that the temporary connection had not been sanctioned.
To this, Sinha said the organisers were using generator sets, instead of tapping the department’s electricity lines. But sources here and in Meerut confirmed that electricity was being illegally tapped in the trade fair, ignoring all safety rules.
“Even if all generator sets available in Meerut were put at the trade fair, they would not have been able to bear 1500 KW load,’’ said a senior official in Meerut. “Using generator sets for a 1500 KW power load is neither easy, nor feasible,” said another senior UPPCL officer here.
Here is another fact that proves how power officials are trying to save their men by claiming that electricity was not being illegally tapped for the trade fair. “The fire broke out at around 5.30 in the evening, but the fire-fighting work could start at 6 pm, only when the electricity supply was switched off from the feeding Civil Lines power sub-station,” said sources. This clearly shows that the venue was getting supply from UPPCL lines when the fire broke out.
This also exposes UPPCL bosses’ claims about their tough attitude towards power theft. The organisers continued to pilfer massive electricity openly for five days, but no power official even took cognizance of it.