BENGALURU: Burgeoning population, unauthorised constructions and official apathy caused 500 deaths due to electrocution over a period of just four years. All these electrocution cases were registered in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM). BESCOM supplies power to eight districts, including Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural, Kolar and Ramanagara.
According to the data available with The New Indian Express, from 2015-16 to 2018-19, as many as 1,041 electricity-related accidents took place. These accidents claimed over 500 lives, including that of 37 BESCOM staffers.
At the same time, there were 350 non-fatal cases reported, most of them being departmental staffers. About 200 animals also died of electrocution between 2015 and 2019. “While in urban areas, accidents involved mostly children who unknowingly touch live wires, in the rural areas, farmers mainly come in contact with exposed and broken power lines,” said a BESCOM official.
YG Muralidhara from Karnataka Electricity Governance Network told TNIE that technical as well as behavioural issues lead to electrocution cases. Technical issues pertaining to live wires lying on the ground, improper insulation of electric wires, and transformers taking heavy load; while on the behavioural front it is mostly children and unsuspecting people who are vulnerable to getting electrocuted.
“Sometimes, people construct high-rise buildings without permission from the authority concerned. Unauthorised buildings invariably land up very close to live electrical wires which render especially children and women vulnerable to electrocution — the former while playing on terraces or near electric poles, and later while drying clothes. Such scenarios present real danger when it rains,” he added.
Muralidhara said Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) should direct ESCOMS to conduct a safety audit. “Authorities should identify transformers which are posing a threat and also dangerously lying wires, and the action should be taken immediately,’’ he added.
SCARY PAST INCIDENTS
- May 2019: Eight-month-old boy electrocuted while playing in a shed in Kodihalli
- April 2019: Nine-year-old-boy injured after coming in contact with a live wire in Mahalakshmi Layout
- April 2019: Thirteen-year-old boy electrocuted at Jeevan Bima Nagar as he tries to pluck a mango from a tree
- February 2019: Seven-year-old-boy electrocuted while playing in a park in Banaswadi