CHENNAI: In a double whammy for the TNEB and civic officials, another life was snuffed out in the city by a dilapidated electric pole that came crashing on a 42-year-old van driver in Chitlapakkam.
The death comes just a day after Dheena Senthil, a 14-year-old boy, was electrocuted as he came in contact with an exposed TNEB live wire in Dhanam Nagar in Mugalivakkam. The young boy was walking on the street when he stepped on the live wire which had not been isolated and buried properly by Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) personnel.
Police identified Monday’s victim as one Sethuraj, a 42-year-old load van driver in Chitlapakkam area. His wife Shankari worked at a school and the couple has two children.
Sethuraj had gone out to feed some stray dogs near his house. That’s when a cement pole carrying a power line broke and fell on him. He was taken to a private hospital and later referred to the government hospital, where he died on Monday night.
Chitlapakkam police sent the body to the Chrompet government hospital for post-mortem. A case was registered under Section 174 (unnatural death), said an investigating officer.
While police claim that it was an accident, residents and activists in Chitlapakkam allege that it was caused by the negligence of the Tamil Nadu Electricity board staff.
After post-mortem, the family took the body to the Chitlapakkam TNEB office and staged a protest demanding the arrest of the erring officers.
An activist and president of Chitlapakkam residents welfare association, P. Vishwanathan, said, “We have made several complaints about lights that don’t burn and also the dilapidated poles that swayed fearfully posing a great risk to the public, but no action was taken. In the month of April, we filed a complaint with TNEB officials urging them to repair and built new poles.”
Another resident of the area said they had been consistently complaining about the dilapidated condition of the cement poles carrying power lines, but their grievances were ignored by officials.
Each time residents asked TNEB officials to check the poles, there was a standard response that they did not have enough manpower....