Ludhiana, March 28
Even though frequent accidents of electrocution or the victims suffering severe burn injuries from high tension (HT) electric cables have assumed an alarming proportion, yet the departments concerned — Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) and the Municipal Corporation (MC) or for that matter other government, semi-government or autonomous bodies — were showing little or no concern to this huge threat looming large on the residents of illegally constructed buildings under HT cables all across the city.
A recent mishap at Makkar Colony in Dhandari Kalan where a 14-year-old boy fell victim to HT cables and sustained severe burn injuries has once again brought to the fore the problem which required to be addressed on top priority, both by the PSPCL and MC, which ought to curb illegal construction under HT cables and cable towers.
Another incident which went on to show utter indifference and apathy of the MC towards lives of the city residents came to light in Kitchlu Nagar where a public convenience (toilet) block has been constructed right under the HT cables as a part of projects under the ‘Smart City’ mission by the Ludhiana Smart City Limited (LSCL). The LSCL is also headed by MC Commissioner Pradeep Sabharwal so the MC, at least in this case, cannot escape the direct responsibility for exposing public to fatal accidents from electric cables.
While the PSPCL officials asserted that any type of construction under 66 KV, 132 KV and 220 KV HT cables was illegal in terms of provisions of the Electricity Act, the onus for removal/demolition of such illegal buildings lied with the MC or the government agency with building control, the MC officials brushed aside the matter saying they did not have the list of such illegal constructions or buildings.
Laying the blame once again on the MC, a senior PSPCL official claimed that a list of many illegal structures and buildings constructed under HT cables was provided to all four zones of the MC way back in October 2019 which was followed up by publication of a notice in newspapers for removal of such constructions without much response from any side.
When asked to comment, an MC official said instructions had been issued to staff and officials of the building branch not to allow any such construction under HT cables and also prepare a list of all existing structures/buildings which had come up under HT cables in violation of building bylaws and provisions of Electricity Act.