Karnataka govt orders four separate probes into electrocution case | Bengaluru - Hindustan Times
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Karnataka govt orders four separate probes into electrocution case

By, Bengaluru
Nov 22, 2023 08:58 AM IST

On Sunday, According to police, 23-year-old Soundarya, who was walking home after arriving from Tamil Nadu, along with her nine-month-old girl Leela, died of burn injuries after she accidentally stepped on a live electric wire lying unattended on the pavement

The state energy minister KJ George on Tuesday ordered four separate investigations to determine the cause of the electrocution incident that left a 23-year-old woman and her nine-month-old baby dead at Hope Farm near Kaugodi on November 19.

The Karnataka energy minister orders four separate probe into electrocution incident that killed a woman and her infant on November 19. (Wikimedia Commons)
The Karnataka energy minister orders four separate probe into electrocution incident that killed a woman and her infant on November 19. (Wikimedia Commons)

Addressing a press conference following a meeting of the concerned departments, the energy minister said, “The first investigation will be an internal inquiry by the Bangalore electricity supply company (Bescom). The second investigation will be conducted by the police department, to whom we have granted full autonomy in handling the case.”

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“The third investigation would be conducted by the electrical inspectorate. And the fourth by a committee headed by a retired chief electrical inspector and comprising a director from the central power research institute (CPRI) and a member of the inspectorate. The committee was formed to have an impartial and independent probe into the incident,” he added.

On Sunday, According to police, 23-year-old Soundarya, who was walking home after arriving from Tamil Nadu, along with her nine-month-old girl Leela, died of burn injuries after she accidentally stepped on a live electric wire lying unattended on the pavement.

In response to the incident, five Bescom officials have been suspended pending further investigation. Minister George said that the investigations will help in avoiding such instances in the future. “This is a peculiar situation and thus demands thorough investigation as to why the wire did not find earthing. After the investigation reports come in, we will act accordingly, not just in this case but implement the recommendations across the state” he said.

The minister has also set a 15-day deadline for businesses operating in the central business district that have installed optical fibre cables to rectify the disorderly placement of cables on pavements. “Most of them are OFCs. They are everywhere, and often unruly. In the next 15 days, if OFCs do not go inside the ducts created for them under TenderSure roads in CBD, we will exercise our power to cut cables that are passing over our lines. I will also speak to the state development minister DK Shivakumar about the matter.”

A senior officer, on condition of anonymity said that officials during a review meeting following the incident suggested that the cement used for interlocking in the footpath and the presence of M-sand may have prevented the wire from finding earthing.

Mahantesh Bilagi, managing director of Bescom, announced plans for a meeting with the chief civic commissioner of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to address the issue. “There are paver blocks across the city. Hence, to prevent such accidents, we have to discuss with them and see what can be done,” he told media.

Meanwhile, The national human rights commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the chief secretary and director general of police (DGP), Karnataka, seeking a detailed report.

“The NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that a 23-year-old woman and her nine months baby were electrocuted when they stepped on a live electricity wire lying unattended on the footpath near Hope Farm in the Kadugodi area in Bengaluru on 19th November, 2023. Reportedly, by the time people rushed to help the victims, they were charred to death,” read a statement from the commission.

The NHRC expressed concern about the negligence of the electricity department in the city and said it expects the report to include the status of the First Information Report (FIR), actions taken against officials responsible for the lapse, and details of any compensation granted to the next of kin of the deceased.

“The reported incident, apparently, indicates the negligence of the electricity department of Bengaluru. Accordingly, it has issued notices to the chief secretary and the DGP, Karnataka calling for a detailed report on the matter within six weeks. The report should include the status of the FIR, action taken against the officials responsible for the lapses and compensation if any, granted to the next of the kin of the deceased,” it added.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Arun Dev is an Assistant Editor with the Karnataka bureau of Hindustan Times. A journalist for over 10 years, he has written extensively on crime and politics.

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