IT’S SHOCKING! Over 500 people and scores of animals are falling prey to electrocution in the State every year. The figures are next only to those killed in road accidents and murders.
In fact, the actual number of persons who die or get injured because of the electric shocks is said to be far greater as many of the accidents, especially in industries, are never reported to avoid legal wrangling.
In majority of cases non-functioning of safety devices in electric installations or lack of proper earthing are found to be the main causes of the accidents.
Significantly, however, the electricity department never sends a compliance report to the Electricity Safety Directorate (ESD) after the later identifies the reasons of the accidents and directs the supplier to take corrective steps.
Statistics available with the Electricity Safety Directorate here reveal that during the last fiscal (2005-06) a total number of 606 accidents, including 59 fire incidents, took place in various parts of the State, killing 420 human beings and injuring 198. As many as 2055 animals also died from electrocution.
During 2004-05, in 922 accidents, 494 people died and 354 were injured. Over 500 animals also lost their lives. As many as 134 fire accidents also took place due to short-circuit.
Likewise, during the year 2003-04, a total of 548 accidents happened in the State, killing 354 persons and injuring 154. The animal toll stood at 464 while the number of fire accidents was 107.
The annual report sent by the ESD to the Government reveal that in majority of cases the electricity department was responsible for the accidents. Some of the major causes of accidents were breaking of damaged insulators, unsafe distance between LT and HT lines, breaking of poles, improper distance of the overhead conductors from the ground, use of low quality fuse and cut-outs, leakage in consumers’ premises, lack of earthing, lack of insulators in the safety wires and safety devices in the electric installations not being in working order.
A senior ESD official, who did not wish to be identified, said his department inspected all the reported cases of accidents and sent the report to the supplier/UPPCL pointing out causes of accidents and giving directives for taking corrective measure to avoid recurrence of such accidents.
But, he said, hardly ever corrective measures were taken. “We direct the supplier to send us a compliance report within a month of their getting our report, under Section 5 (4) the Indian Electricity Rules 1956,” he said adding, “ but during 27 years of my service, I am not aware of the supplier having ever sent a compliance report to us event after reminders in some cases.”