Beware! Tamil Nadu sees rise in electrocution

Published Nov 30, 2015, 11:40 am IST
Updated Mar 26, 2019, 10:15 pm IST
G. Tiraviyam along with his son Dhanush mourning death of his wife Shenbaga Devi (Photo: DC)
 G. Tiraviyam along with his son Dhanush mourning death of his wife Shenbaga Devi (Photo: DC)

The tragic electrocution of a couple in Velachery after an overhead line snapped and fell on them is not a freak and isolated incident. In fact, in Tamil Nadu the snapping of conductors is the single major cause of electrical accidents.

According to the statistics received from Tamil Nadu Electricity Inspectorate under RTI, as many as 129 persons and animals were killed in 2014-15 due to snapping of conductors. Incidentally, the fatal accident due to snapping of overhead cables is on the rise and it has gone up to 96 in2013-14 from 75 in 2012-13. Since April this year alone, 54 persons including 23 killed in snapping of conductors were given financial assistance under the Chief Minister’s relief fund. Though as many as 596 persons were electrocuted in 2014-15, the predominant cause for electrical accidents is snapping of overhead lines. Particularly in rural areas, people inadvertently step on live snapped wires in agricultural fields and get electrocuted. Tangedco officials attribute various reasons for the snapping of conductors, including heavy winds, sagging wires and bent poles. The snapping takes place either due to trees or branches falling during the monsoons, weakening of insulators or the age of conductors. “In villages, people tie cattle to pole whose constant pulling will create stress on the conductor and lead to its snapping,” the official pointed out.

Technically, an expert said that if a conductor snaps, the power should cease to flow on the line. “In higher voltage lines, the breakers will act immediately to stop current flow in case of snapping of conductor. However, in the low-tension distribution lines, the fuse in the distribution transformer should trip and stop the flow of current. But thick wire will be used in fuse in the distribution transformer to prevent tripping due to overloading by the utility workers. Hence, the power supply continues to flow even after the overhead line snaps and falls on the ground. Anyone stepping on the live wire will be electrocuted,” the expert explained. However, a senior Tangedco official said that fuse would not trip the power supply if the line falls in water, which conducts current. “Hence the electrocution happens,” the official said, adding that the works are routinely undertaken to replace aged conductors, strengthening of conductors and replacement of overhead lines by underground cables.  

“Most of the OH lines snapping happen in the monsoon due to falling of tree branches or heavy winds,” the official said, adding that instructions were given to take up pre-monsoon line patrolling and tree clearances to prevent snapping of lines.

Pillar boxes covered after electrocution of woman

Fifteen-year-old T. Dhanush was watching TV on Thursday evening when the power supply suddenly went off. He never knew the power supply was cut after the electrocution of his mother Shenbaga Devi until his friends told him.

Shenbaga Devi, a contract conservancy worker of the Chennai Corporation, slipped and fell on the streetlight post while wading through slushy stagnant rain water on Bharathipuram main street and got electrocuted.

“I was waiting for her at home. My friends came home to inform me about the electrocution incident,” said Dhanush, studying in class 10. She usually returns home after work from Choolaimedu around 6 pm, he said, adding that she normally get down at K3 Police Station in Anna Nagar and walks to home through Bharathipuram main street.

Her husband G. Tiraviyam said that due to water stagnation, she was coming come through an adjacent road. “On November 26, she took Bharathipuram main street after rain water receded. But she slipped and fell on the streetlight post and got electrocuted,” he said, adding that she was the breadwinner of the family. Dhanush who plays hockey in zonal level wants to pursue IAS. The state government handed over a cheque of Rs 4 lakh to him under the chief minister’s relief fund. Ram Kumar, a local resident, said that after the sad demise of the Shenbagadevi, ministers, MLA, councillors and officials are visiting the neglected locality.

The slushy Bharathipuram main street has been re-laid and interior roads are to be relaid soon, he said, adding that TNEB officials, who did not respond to the complaints, have closed open pillar boxes. “The government is acting only after the death of a woman,” he said.



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Location: Tamil Nadu


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