There’s more to the poor power scenario in UP than meets the eye.
On an average, more than one electrocution death is reported every day from UP and the state capital tops the list of such incidents with 105 power casualties being reported in 2012-13, says a report released by the Directorate of Electrical Safety.
In over 1,322 power related mishaps (snapped cables falling on citizens, electrocution of linesmen and current in poles), 551 people died while 301 were badly injured in the state in 2012-13, which is a poor reflection of the preparedness Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) in curbing such cases.
Lucknow was followed by Agra with 87 deaths, Kanpur 78, Allahabad 57, Meerut 41, Varanasi 40, Bareilly 39, Aligarh 36, Goraphpur 35, Shahjahanpur 24, and Ghaziabad 9 mortalities.
In all, 1,072 major and 150 minor power-related accidents took place and 799 animals also died last year, says the report.
Most of the mishaps happened because safety norms were not followed and safety equipment were not tested regularly by UPPCL engineers.
Avadhesh Varma, chairman, UP Rajya Upbhokta Parishad, said: “Even AIDS doesn’t kill so many people in UP as compared to electrocution. Who is to be blamed for the loss of lives? I have always drawn the attention of authorities because more than half of the casualties were a result of failure of safety devices.”
He said the Directorate of Electrical Safety (DES) always sends a report to various discoms after investigating the cause of accidents but the power companies rarely follow the recommendations.
Varma said he would take up the matter of such deaths with the Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC).
“Kin of most of the victims don’t even get proper compensation from the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd,” he added.
“During the last five years, the directorate has sent thousands of reports but it’s up to the UPPCL to act upon those. We can only check and tell the causes. The directorate has also recommended action against some engineers who were responsible for laxity in maintenance of safety equipment resulting in deaths of denizens,” said GK Singh, director, (DES).
AP Mishra, managing director, Madhyanchal said, “I have always emphasised on safety of people and staff. Wires at many places and more than 1,000 poles which were dangerous have been changed. I have directed engineers to check safety equipment regularly and anyone found guilty of ignoring safety devices in any substation or area would be punished.”