BANGALORE: Bescom staff who don't attend to complaints about dangling wires and other safety concerns can be penalised.
Pankaj Pandey, Bescom managing director, told City Express that engineers are usually given specific deadlines to fix problems, but can be penalised if they leave things unattended. The deadline can be as short as three hours.
Many poles in Bangalore are death traps, with wires dangling from them. They remain that way for months and years, with the engineers continuing to ignore the hazards to the citizen's life and limb. Uninsulated wires and shoddily twisted joints are a common sight across the city.
Last week, a seven-year-old stepped on a live wire in Kalasipalya and was electrocuted.Bescom washed its hands of the case. The live wire was connected to a streetlamp, whose maintenance is BBMP's responsibility, Bescom said in a press release.
City Express asked the Bescom authorities what citizens should do when they come across open, uninsulated and dangling wires.
Pandey said, "For everything except accessories connected to streetlights and poles with BBMP written on them, people can call our four-digit helpline (1912)."
A complaint number is issued, and engineers asked to follow up immediately, he explained.
He advised those travelling in vehicles to be watchful of live wires, as not all wires that look thin and black are telephone cables.
"We have automatic safety mechanisms. Usually, when a wire gets cut and falls on the ground, the flow of current increases. Sensing this, the switches or circuit breakers turn off the power supply," he said. As for other lines, he cautioned citizens not to try to fix the problem themselves but to wait for the engineers to arrive. "In 30 seconds to a couple of minutes after receiving a call, the power supply to the line is cut," he said.
Bescom, it seems, is in the process of stepping-up safety as well. "The BBMP commissioner, I and our engineers will start to meet regularly," Pandey further said.
"We're clearing transformers from footpaths, and moving up low-hanging structures like meters," he added. The engineers, he said, have been given six months to implement this plan. Bescom also wants to take-up more preventive maintenance work.
BBMP south division executive engineer (electrical) N N Srinath believes most people with complaints contact Bescom first, since they associate it with electricity. "Bescom tells them to contact us," he says. Citizens can call zonal control rooms, he added.
There's usually little trouble during the day," he said, adding that at night too, control rooms are prompt in passing on the message to someone close to the location.
He maintains that engineers can be penalised if they don't keep to deadlines. "But that's something our higher-ups need to decide."