Is MSEDCL responsible for deaths due to electrocution in Pune zone?
The death toll due to electrocutions involving Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited equipment has risen from 17 in 2017 to 21 deaths in 2019Updated: Jun 01, 2019 19:05 IST
The death toll due to electrocutions involving Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited equipment has shown an alarming increase in 2018-19 as compared to the previous two years.
In 2016-17 the number of deaths in the Pune, specifically involving MSEDCL equipment - transformers and live wires - was 17. This increased to 21 in 2018-19. In 2017-2018, 19 deaths were reported and now in 2018-19, 21 deaths have occurred, as revealed by the MSEDCL itself.
SR Devgekar, electrical inspector of MSEDCL, said, “While certainly, we have to take a lot of steps in adding the security measures at various locations in our zone, however, the citizens at times are also responsible for few incidents of electrocution.”
Justifying his stand, Devgekar said, “Out of the total 21 cases of electrocution in the year 2018-19, 60 per cent of those are the ones where citizens were involved in power theft. While doing so they often come in very close contact with the electricity supply which results in fatal accidents claiming respective lives.”
A three-year boy in the city had to lose his limbs due to severe shock when he came in contact with an MSEDCL transformeer. The incident happened on April 18, 2019.
While the authorities have taken the moral responsibilities of such accidents by accepting that it could have been avoided by implementing more security measures, they have however asserted that MSEDCL is not the only party at fault.
Sassoon hospital is shock-survivor Aditya Gaikwad’s home... for now
Sassoon hospital has allowed Aditya Gaikwad, the three-and-a-half-year-old boy who lost his limbs due to an electric shock, to stay in the facility till he finds a suitable accommodation.
Aditya who is recuperating at the Sassoon hospital from the last 40 days is in dire need of a home. Ganesh Gaikwad, Aditya’s father said, “We lived in a small 10x10 makeshift house with a tin shade. But now since Aditya is healing and is susceptible to infections, we do not want to go back to that house. We are looking for a concrete house, now.”
“I have requested the hospital authorities to continue with Aditya’s treatment here and they have accepted our request. We also stay in the hospital premises. Now, it has been around eight days post discharge that we are living in Sassoon premises,” said Ganesh.
Dr S Nanandkar, dean of Sassoon hospital, said, “The hospital has allowed Aditya to stay back as his father has requested us. We have extended all possible support to him and his family members. The child will be taken care by a team of doctors till the time he is with us.”
Ganesh said, “In a makeshift house we lived in a joint family, but Aditya will need space and a personalised cot along with a wheelchair.”
“Due to my poor monetary condition, I am finding it hard to rent a double room. So we are forced to stay back in the hospital,” he added.
“As of now Aditya is doing well, his wounds are healing and the stitches too have been removed. Only the wounds on his legs are yet to dry, said Gaikwad.
Dr Parag Sahasrabbuddhe, head of burns ward at Sassoon, confirmed that the hospital has allowed Aditya to stay back. He said, “The father has requested us to continue with Aditya’s treatment here. So till he finds accommodation instructions have been given to the hospital staff to not trouble Gaikwad or ask him to leave.”
Talking about Aditya’s condition, Sahasrabuddhe said, “It is a unique case. In my experience of at least 20 years in Sassoon’s burns ward, I have never come across such a depressing case where all the limbs had to be amputated.”
“Aditya’s wounds are healing, but his rehabilitation will remain a challenge and the process will take time. So to fix prosthetic for Aditya, at least Rs 15 to Rs 20 lakh is needed. It is a difficult time for the family,” he said.
‘Life over limbs’
“In cases, where there are burns due to electric shocks amputation remains the only option as the bones get severely damaged. This makes the person vulnerable to have infections and gangrene within the bones which can be life-threatening,” said Dr Parag Sahasrabbuddhe, head of burns ward at Sassoon. “Hence we gave an option—of ‘life over limb’ to the parents. We have tried to save as much portion of the limbs of the child,” he added.
26 power theft cases registered; Rs 5.99cr fine collected in 2018-2019
Maharashtra state electricity distribution company limited (MSEDCL) in 2018-2019 has filed cases against 26 individuals for power theft. The cases have been filed under section 135 of the Electricity Act 2003 in the Pune zone.
As per Section 126 of the Electricity Act, 2003, in case of detection of unauthorised use of energy (UUE), double the tariff applicable for the relevant category is to be recovered. Section 135 of the Act stipulates initiating police action among other stern consequences.
A majority of such cases of electricity theft are reported from slum areas and the areas where lower middle-class citizens reside. And two cases have been registered from Pimpri-Chinchwad.
The official spokesperson of the MSEDCL, Pune zone, said, “We have formed dedicated squads of officials who keep a check on electricity theft in the Pune zone. So as compared to 2017-2018, the number of theft cases reported has reduced in 2018-19, however, the amount of fine and the number of cases filed against offenders has gone up.”
According to the data given by the MSEDCL officials, in 2017-18, the number of cases filed against offenders was 14 which increased to 26 in 2018-19.
Similarly, the revenue collected through these cases in 2017-18 was Rs 3, 04, 69, 200 and for 2018-19 was Rs 5, 99, 70, 000.
A senior MSEDCL official requesting anonymity said, “Despite repeated requests to the residents indulging in such thefts, people don’t listen to us. Eventually, we have to take actions.”
“The offenders have to pay the bill amount of the consumed electricity units along with additional compounding charges,” he said.
“We take action against those who refrain from paying these charges,” said the official.
Meanwhile, a majority of the cases of power thefts which were reported according to the officials were committed by residents followed by commercial establishments.
Pune zone comprises of Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad corporation limits along with Ambegaon, Junnar and Khed talukas.