To curb deaths due to damaged power lines, Kerala power board turns to innovator
Last month when two persons were electrocuted in Thiruvananthapuram after they stepped on a snapped wire in knee-deep rainwater, the Kerala High Court registered a case against the state electricity board forcing the latter to scout for a permanent solution. Soon it came up with an idea mooted by an innovator, Rishikesh C S, who is a school dropout.
The Kerala state electricity board (SEB) has announced its plan of adopting his life-saving formula called ‘rapid power supply disconnecting system’. It can turn off supply if the power line snaps. And the SEB has started using the device on an experimental basis and it will be used throughout the state after gauging its success.
“The unfortunate death of two persons disturbed me. Earlier, I had an idea on how to avert such mishaps. Soon I started working on a device and took it to KSEB safety commissioner R Suku. He was impressed and suggested some modifications,” explained Rishikesh (43), who got the National Innovation Foundation award in 2015.
The National Innovation Foundation had honoured him for developing a wireless power- detecting system on high-tension lines and he received the award from then President Pranab Mukherjee. He said he has developed 18 different devices so far and got patents for three.
“The power line snapping device is simple containing a receiver and transmitter. The receiver will be fitted on the transformer and the transmitter will be placed at the end of the power line. In case of any disruption, the transmitter will relay a signal to the receiver and the snapped line will fall to the ground dead,” he explained about how his system worked. An alarm will be fitted on the receiver which will give a warning to people and alert the nearest electricity office also. He said power will be cut in 30 million seconds after the time of snapping and no one will be electrocuted.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, at least 3,000 people die every year in electric power-related accidents in the country. Short circuit claims the largest number of lives while touching live wires ranks second and the problem gets aggravated during natural calamities like floods.
“It is a useful device. We suggested some modifications in the original device developed by him. We have installed it at some places on an experimental basis,” said KSEB executive engineer V V Sunil Kumar. Though KSEB and Rishkesh devised a plan for commercial production, they are yet to formalize an agreement on price or profit-sharing.
Hailing from a poor family, Rishikesh stopped his formal education after 17. “From childhood I had an inclination for hardware and electronic goods. I found my lessons in history, geography and civics boring and started reading books on electronics, IT and innovations,” said Rishikesh, a resident of Muhamma in Alappuzha, adding that he set up a small lab in his house for experiments.
He said his main problem were funds and he approached villages a couple of times but he could not fulfil their demands and lack of formal education also impeded him. “I have many well-wishers in the West and they often chide me saying If I had been there I would have been a millionaire by now. I have no complaints either but I would like to serve my country,” he said. State Finance Minister Thomas Issac recently gave him Rs two lakh to develop an unmanned boat which can carry out rescue operations at sea during turbulent weather.