Activist alleges pilferage of electrical infrastructure in connivance of Mescom officials

Numerous electricity lines, hung between imposing towers, criss-cross the undulating landscape that runs parallel to National Highway 75 on the outskirts of the city. It is on one of these relatively-isolated hillocks that multiple lines drawn over sturdy iron poles suddenly morph into thinner lines on concrete poles.

It is this anomaly that activist P.S. Haneef Saheb says is proof of pilferage of electrical infrastructure in connivance of Mescom officials.

In a complaint to the Mescom’s Vigilance Department, he says that 33kVA wires, imported insulators and other electrical devices from the line — cumulatively worth “more than Rs. 1 crore” — have been stolen and replaced by sub-standard electrical accessories at Bandaramane Gudde near Kannur.

In all, he says, 12 poles and the wires between them have been replaced.

Alternative line

The line in question serves as an alternative line — running from Kulashekhar Master Unit Sub-Station (MUSS) towards B.C. Road to deliver power towards Bantwal, Puttur, and Sullia taluks in case of failure of the main line — and does not carry electricity on a routine-basis, making it easier to steal from, he tells The Hindu.

In a few areas, the remnants of the older, studier iron poles are seen, while the insulators used are stark in contrast to the insulators elsewhere on the lines.

“The insulators used in the 33kVA [line] is of Japanese make…and the year mentioned is 1958. These have been replaced with improper insulators and shoddy workmanship,” says Mr. Saheb, who believes that the replacement was carried “around five months ago”.

Though residents of the area are unsure as to when the poles are replaced, they say that it was only on this barren stretch that the line appeared to be different.

“It is only on this hillock that wires are missing, while the poles are also different,” says Rahmath of Bollar Gudde nearby.

Mescom reaction

Engineers at Mescom, however, dismissed the matter. “This is an old line, and was in the process of removal. However, if all the poles are removed, and we need to relay another line later in future, the people in the area will not let us relay the line in the same place if needed. There is nothing to suggest lines were stolen,” said an engineer, and believed that the 11kV line may have been put as “eyewash” for the residents of the area.

‘Have taken cognizance’

However, Mescom Vigilance has taken cognizance of the complaint of Mr. Saheb and is in the process of filing their report, which involves checking with the storage department of Mescom if the material removed from the wires has been reported.

More In: Mangaluru