He was the eighth gangman trainee to be electrocuted across the state since March this year when about 9,600 workers were appointed. Over 25 trainees have met with electrical accidents during work so far.
With severe shortage of manpower at field level, Tangedco officials are forcing the gangman trainees, who were supposed to be engaged in non-electrical work like digging, installation of poles, laying power cables and climbing poles to attend to work on electrical installation without supervision, alleges Tamil Nadu Electricity Board Employees Federation general secretary A Sekkizhar, who has also written to the Tangedco CMD in this regard.
“Tangedco had filed an affidavit in the Madras High Court, in a case challenging recruitment of the gangman trainees, that the trainees would be engaged for digging, erection poles and laying cables which would not involve working on a live wire. But, they were forced to do all the electrical works by the field engineers which is leading to electrocution and accidents,” he said.
Sekkizhar said that there are over 30,000 vacancies at the field level in the field assistants and wireman category. “Tangedco should take immediate steps to fill up the field level vacancies to attend to consumer complaints and maintenance works,” he added.
A gangman trainee in Vellore said that they have to attend to all the works assigned by the section engineer. “From attending to transformer fuse to climbing a pole, we do all the field level works,” he said, complaining that they were forced to work for more than 12 hours a day without even weekly off.
A senior Tangedco official said that they have given instructions to all the chief engineers of the regions to ensure that safety precautions are taken while attending to work. “In the most cases of electrocution and accidents involving gangman trainees, it happened mainly due to non-adherence to safety precautions like ensuring no power supply before attending the fault. Most of the time accidents happen because of negligence,” the official said, adding that gangman trainees are recruited to attend to all the field level electrical works.