BHUBANESWAR: As outrage pours in over the shocking electrocution of seven elephants in Dhenkanal district, the Central Electricity Supply Utility (CESU) has been caught napping. A report of the Forest department to the State Government over the Saturday’s mishap reveals the callousness of the power distribution company (discom) that led to the death of the elephants.
The discom, which had been given `20 crore for insulation and repair of the sagging transmission lines, has been sitting over the matter for more than six months.At the coordination committee meeting chaired by Additional Chief Secretary of Forest and Environment department Suresh Chandra Mohaptra on March 3 this year, it was decided that transmission lines passing through elephant movement area were to be insulated and sagging power lines replaced in a phased manner.
Accordingly, the Forest department submitted the lists of transmission lines over a stretch of 1519.36 km including 378.12 km in Angul Circle to the Energy department for cabling and insulation. The Divisional Forest Officer, Dhenkanal had also submitted a proposal for cabling of 136.57 km of the low transmission lines. Making an allotment of `20 crore, the Energy department forwarded the list to CESU for undertaking the job on a priority. However, CESU is yet to start the cabling and insulation works of the transmission lines in the identified vulnerable areas despite repeated reminders from Wildlife Wing of the Forest department to the Energy department and the discom.Even in the last coordination meeting held on September 11, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) had expressed his displeasure over the non-compliance of CESU to the decision taken in the March meeting.
“It is evident that due to non-rectification of sagging lines and non-cabling of transmission lines, the lives of seven elephants were lost,” the report stated. The Forest department has requested the Energy department to inquire into the lapses for non-implementation of the Government decision by CESU and fix responsibility and take suitable action against the erring officials.