Loose power cable outside house costs Ghaziabad woman her hands
The 30-year-old woman was electrocuted and had to undergo amputationnoida Updated: Jun 16, 2017 00:10 IST
Neelam Kumari (30) had worked hard to prepare for an exam for the post of a bank probationary officer (PO) scheduled for April 29. However, two days before that, an overhead electricity cable stole her dreams of a better future — and her hands.
On April 27, Neelam was electrocuted by the loose, 11Kv wire and the doctors had to amputate her left forearm and her right hand. She lay bedridden in the ICU of the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi till May 20 where the doctors managed to save her legs.
“I was hanging washed clothes to dry in the balcony. As I put the clothes up, I heard a blast. Both my hands stuck to the electricity cable. I could not shout and could not take my hands away from the wire. I felt it pulled me towards it, leaving me immobile. After Vinay (her husband) arrived in time and pulled me away with a stick, I regained consciousness. I looked down at my hands to find them severely burnt,” she said.
The couple is from Bihar and had migrated to Delhi for better jobs. Initially, they lived in Mayur Vihar in Delhi, but later took a bank loan and bought a flat at DLF Ankur Vihar in Loni, Ghaziabad.
After rescuing his wife, Vinay rushed her to four local hospitals in his neighbour’s car but none of them had the advanced treatment facilities required for a case like hers. He finally went to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi where treatment started around 4pm.
“She lost her first hand on the ninth day of the incident and the second hand 10 days after that. The skin shreds were taken to a laboratory where the cells were found to be dead and there was no chance of revival. Since then, there have been routine checkups at the hospital even after her discharge,” said Vinay, who works as a sales manager with a private company in Noida.
On June 3, he lodged an FIR against the electricity department and a local builder. He said he had told the builder several times to fix the low-hanging wires and put some protective cover over them to prevent a mishap.
“No police officer has come to speak to us about our loss. The electricity department too doesn’t seem to have addressed the issue. The same wire still hangs in front of our house,” he said.
The FIR was lodged under Section 338 (causing grievous hurt by an act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the IPC at Loni police station.
Srikant Prajapati, circle officer, Loni, said, “Her husband had come to us in connection with the case. We are still investigating and will file a chargesheet. We advised him to move a consumer court for better compensation. The judicial court will allow compensation, but the case will take its own time.”
After HT on Thursday approached SK Gupta, chief engineer of the electricity department, he directed the superintending engineer (Loni) to hold an inquiry at the earliest.
“An inquiry will be initiated and we will find out who got the electricity cable installed. If there is negligence on the electricity department’s part, we will take suitable action. Thereafter, we will initiate the process for compensation to the victim as allowed, considering the nature of disability suffered,” he added.
Vinay has been on leave from work since the incident took place. “I remember I was getting ready to go to office when I heard the blast and rushed to the balcony. Since then, I have been on leave. Household chores, preparing food, sweeping the floor and washing utensils is my routine now. When the schools reopen after summer vacations, I will also have to get my eight-year-old son ready for school,” he said. The couple is now exploring the possibility of getting artificial limbs to enable Neelam, who still has injuries on her back and legs, to lead an ordinary life. However, Vinay said that will require around ₹40 lakh.
“Bahut bura lagta hai... kabhi man hota tha ki zinda nahi rehna chahiye (I feel really bad... sometimes I feel that I shouldn’t live anymore). Now, with support of my husband, I am recovering. I will still prepare for and hope to clear the bank PO examinations. But the electricity cable that still hangs near our balcony haunts me all day,” she said.