Increase strength of hotline crew: TNEB union

The hotline crew which performed repair operations on live power lines of Tangedco are facing a shortage of manpower affecting their maintenance of transmission lines across the State.
Increase strength of hotline crew: TNEB union

Chennai

‘Hotline crew’ is one of the important maintenance teams in the board carrying out maintenance works of EHT lines under risky conditions to minimise breakdowns. At present, the strength of this team has come down sharply and needs enhancement,” Tamil Nadu Electricity Board Engineers’ Sangam (TNEBES) said in their memorandum to the CMD of Tangedco.
Pointing out that responsibilities and areas of workers have been increased multiple times as they cover substations ranging from 110 KV to 765 KV and the length of transmission lines are also growing at a fast pace, increasing their workload, the memo stated that at present, hotline crews are centred in five subdivisions in Korattur, Tiruvalam, Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchy.
“Even though there are around 152 trained and specialised hotline staff and people working on the board, only two people per subdivision are stationed permanently. This strength is negligible as each crew requires at least 15 persons. All others working elsewhere are pooled during an emergency for carrying out maintenance work which takes time. This delay could be avoided if more people are allocated exclusively for hotlines by maintaining the crew strength to a minimum of 15 persons per subdivision. Hence we request sanctioning of additional posts in all categories,” the memo stated.
TNEBES urged the utility to enhance funds for procuring safety amenities such as insulated shoes, sunglasses, helmets and special uniforms for hotline crew members. “The cost of these items has increased multiple times but the board has not revised the rates, hence provisioning of the safety items is becoming difficult. Moreover, the amenities are supplied every two years which is quite a long period considering the environment they work in,” it said, seeking the replacement of safety gears every year instead of two years.
The union also sought removal of the ceiling limit of Rs 16,000 fixed on the special allowance of 25% of the pay of the crew members of the hotline considering their nature of work. It sought for enhancement of accident insurance policy to a minimum amount of Rs 50 lakh as being done in Telangana from the present coverage of Rs 15 lakh.

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