Most often, the victims’ kin do not receive any compensation from the discom
More than a week ago, Pradeep Kumar, a 14-year-old from Musheerabad, was appended to the list of kids who had been pulled away by death in the guise of a colourful kite hanging from the electrical wires.
The boy received serious burns when he came in contact with high tension power lines during his attempt to retrieve his kite from the wires. After four days of battling, he finally gave up, while his brother Prabhu Kiran, sustained burns trying to save him.
This is neither the first instance, nor will it be the last, of children trying to meddle with power conductors and receiving electric shocks. Innumerable such incidents have happened over the years, with only those resulting in fatalities having been reported.
A boy named Vikas died a year-and-a-half ago when he was pulled by the high tension electrical wires running too close to his house in B.K. Guda. In the same year, another boy, C. Naresh died in Kushaiguda police station limits while flying kites.
Twelve-year-old Vamshi from Kandikal Gate was electrocuted in 2010, when he tried to pull his kite from the high tension wires, while P. Arjun, another youth from Karmanghat, died during similar endeavour on the same day in Karmanghat.
Two years earlier than that, P. Nagaraju, another boy from Rahmath Nagar, died while trying to remove a kite with the help of iron rods.
These are just a few instances of electrocutions due to the victims approaching the high tension lines. While a few of them reportedly used iron rods to retrieve the kites, in a few incidents, the lines were so close that the victims just had to stretch their hands to reach them.
While the discom has been benevolent enough to propose compensation for Pradeep Kumar’s parents, most often, the victims’ kin do not receive anything. Reason: the company claims that the houses were built in contravention of the vertical and horizontal clearance norms stipulated by the company.
At quite a few locations in the city, power lines are within the hand’s reach - Ramnagar, IDPL, Old Bowenpally, Balanagar, Fatehnagar, Madhapur, Red Hills, Humayun Nagar, Masab Tank, Hakimpet, Attapur, Balkampet, Rethibowli, Golconda, Alwal, Kukatpally, and AC Guards to name a few. A study by the CPDCL has revealed that over 8,000 houses in the GHMC limits are dangerously close to power lines.
Replacing the overhead lines with the underground cables in all these localities is, according to officials from the department, next to impossible, not only due to the high costs involved, but also due to scarcity of space in the respective areas. The only option left is to shift the lines from the dangerous locations, which is another cost-intensive proposition.
Last year, the State government has allotted Rs.25 crore for shifting of the lines wherever they are dangerously close to the housing colonies across the State. Of this, the CPDCL has been allotted Rs.10 crore, and the two zones in GHMC, namely Metro and Ranga Reddy got Rs. 1 crore each. The Metro Zone has identified locations where casualties were reported earlier, and submitted proposals to the district Collector towards shifting of lines. However, with no sanctions released so far, the project is still languishing in the proposal stage.