BENGALURU: In their joint inspection of buildings across the city, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) have found as many as 4,505 unsafe structures. These are too close to the extra high tension lines. The survey is being done in response to a spate of electrocution deaths that took place in the city recently. Most of the victims were children.
“We have sent notices to owners of all unsafe buildings. Such buildings have their extra floor, balcony or terrace dangerously close to the power line. In several cases, the owners have constructed extra floors illegally,” said BESCOM MD C Shikha.“Such constructions are dangerous and the part that is too close to the line must be modified, failing which power will be disconnected in the future,” she said, adding that the survey is still under way.
As per the Indian Electricity Act, buildings need to maintain a horizontal distance of 1.2 metres from 11KV lines and 4 metres from 66KV lines. This buffer zone has been violated in the above cases.
Ravikumar Surpur, special commissioner (projects) from BBMP said,” We are taking stock of the situation. We need to categorise these buildings, be it residential, government or commercial. We will warn them about the possible hazards. In several cases, water tanks are built too close to the power lines. If a person tries to manoeuvre at the spot, they are at risk of coming in contact with the electrical wires. Our priority is to save lives instead of initiating legal action.”
In some cases, the officials found slum dwellers constructing structures inside the buffer zone. “We will soon submit a report to the government. Instead of demolition that will leave people homeless, we will look at other options such as sealing a floor, modifying the unsafe portion or removing one floor. The survey is still going on with zonal engineers earmarking the hazardous locations along with BESCOM officials,” Surpur added.Along with the survey of existing buildings, BESCOM has been independently surveying under-construction buildings for hazardous ones, and also disconnecting their temporary power connections.
Plastic production: 14 industries face action
BESCOM has launched a crackdown on industries that manufacture plastic and utilise plastic for packaging products. “We have sent disconnection notices to 33 industries, of which 14 industries manufacture plastic products," said a BESCOM official. “They will be given 7 days time to shut down, post which the power will be disconnected," said BESCOM MD C Shikha.