Death By Electrocution is Largely Owing to Civic Apathy!

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  • Indian citizens are familiar with the way most urban dwellings are dotted with cables of various kinds, including power supply wires. Except maybe tony localities in the urban settings, most of the urban areas are inundated with loose hanging wires that not only raise concerns about the safety aspects but also sheer apathy of the civic agencies meant to ensure citizens are well protected. Despite people from various quarters objecting to the shoddy workmanship executed by the civic agencies, the lack of deterrence and iron-clad action to address the anomaly from the authorities concerned is a fact. When a tragedy of monumental scale occurs, often leading to fatal deaths, the civic agencies wake up, issue platitudes, and resume their indifferences again.

PC: Rashmi Hemrajani

  • Yes, the less said the better about the semi-urban and rural regions as the inhabitants have mostly given up expecting these glaring anomalies to be addressed satisfactorily. The moot point to ponder over here is why India as a country repeatedly looks the other way to ensure the safety of their citizens is not compromised. Remember, there is no dearth of funds available for the purpose. But the bane of corruption is so deeply entrenched that the quality of execution of works stands compromised at every level leading to the present sorry state of affairs. As reported, the tragic death of a British tourist from electrocution in Himachal’s tourist town Dalhousie recently yet again proves how disastrous our civic agencies’ workmanship is.
  • The low-hanging high-voltage cable was not an illegally drawn wire – as is the case usually – but was installed by a major public sector undertaking, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC). Residents have long sought the risky cable be removed. That NHPC didn’t respond to those concerns tells the story. In another high-profile case recently, a 13-year-old was electrocuted by an 11kV powerline incorrectly installed too close to their house in Aligarh, UP. She lost an arm. The cable, her father mentions, remains in position even now. High-power cables strung close to houses, and poorly installed and maintained are one of India’s, especially urban areas, worst nightmares as mentioned above. Yes, the discoms barely take note.

PC: Ministry of Power

  • There is little accountability and even less remorse. No wonder, deaths by electrocution number in thousands. Data for 2021 in the National Crime Records Bureau report shows electrocution accounted for over 12,500 casualties, including 650 children aged below 14. That works out to 34 people dying daily from electrocution. These deaths can hardly be called accidents, which is how NCRB classifies them. They are a result of administrative negligence and apathy. Unauthorized urban growth regularized on the back of political pressures and election promises have made the problem more complex for cities functioning on stretched resources. Our planners short-circuited our cities and towns big time. This apathy must stop. The authorities must wake up and act.