2 lives lost every day: Tangedco’s six-month toll
This is an alarming increase in both fatal and non-fatal electrocution incidents. In 2022-23, the State recorded 399 electrocution incidents.
CHENNAI: Here is a literally shocking data: about two people died of electrocution every single day in six months from April 1 to September 30 in Tamil Nadu. The total number of cases and deaths are way higher than even the whole of the previous year, revealed information obtained under the RTI Act.
According to the data obtained by activist and retired Tangedco engineer S Neelakantapillai, Tangedco has recorded 576 electrical accidents involving humans, which killed 356 people and injured 220, from April 1 to September 30 this year. Besides these, 253 animals were electrocuted during this period.
This is an alarming increase in both fatal and non-fatal electrocution incidents. In 2022-23, the State recorded 399 electrocution incidents. But, in just six months in 2023-24, there have already been 576 electrocutions and 356 deaths, pointed out the activist, adding, “The numbers will go up further in the next six months with monsoon active in the State.”
Most of the departmental accidents involve inexperienced gangmen who were made to work without the supervision of a foreman or line inspector. In the case of public electrocution deaths, snapping of conductors is the main cause, he said, blaming the State-run utility for failing to take steps to prevent or reduce the electrocution cases.
“Numerous circulars are being issued to hold review meetings on electrocution incidents. What action was taken on such review meetings,” he asked, seeking the filing of FIRs mandatorily on officials so that they would be vigilant and take steps to ensure safety.
When asked, a senior Tangedco official said all superintendent engineers were asked to investigate fatal accidents occurring in their circles and submit reports containing their remarks and steps taken to prevent recurrence.
The utility is considering the installation of circuit breakers for transformers to prevent electrocution due to the snapping of conductors, the official said. “Circuit breakers were installed on transformers along the elephant corridors on a trial basis. Based on its effectiveness, it would be installed across the State,” the official added.
To avoid departmental deaths, Tangedco officials said the personnel climbing electric poles and transformers should compulsorily use earth rods. “We are rolling out a mobile phone application to upload photos with timestamps. In case of violation, action will be taken against the supervisor,” said an official.