On Friday afternoon, Sripal Ranawat witnessed a horrific sight — a cow being electrocuted, opposite his shop on Vaidyanathan Street, off Walltax Road.
At around 1 p.m., according to Mr. Ranawat, a cow began eating some food that had been dumped beneath a streetlight on the lane. An electricity junction box was also in the vicinity. Just as the food touched its mouth, a shock coursed through the cow’s body. “It started trembling and moaning feebly. We tried to rescue it but it died,” Mr. Ranawat said.
Residents on the street informed the local Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) office, but officials allegedly only arrived after an hour. The residents initially thought the electric shock had originated from the junction box. But when Tangedco staff dug at the site, they found that the streetlight’s wiring was faulty, and this had caused a short circuit.
“The light had been switched on by Chennai Corporation staff to check if it was working. And since there was a short circuit, the cow was electrocuted. Stagnant drainage water nearby had seeped into the wires and caused a problem,” a Tangedco official said.
Residents say that sewage water stagnation is a perennial problem on the street. “This accident occurred due to various factors. First off, the residents should not have dumped food beneath the junction box. A Corporation sweeper could have been electrocuted while cleaning it,” said S. Rajender, a long time resident of the street.
The second problem was the stagnation of sewage water, due to negligence by the civic body. “We have been writing to the government to solve this problem but nothing has been done about it to date. If it is not sorted out, all the underground wiring will soon be ruined. We are quite concerned as there are many children in the locality,” he added.