‘Precariously perched structures in several suburbs face collapse in the rain’
It is not just monetarily that Tamil Nadu’s power system is on shaky ground.
Its infrastructure too, is rickety, especially in areas recently merged with the Chennai Corporation.
In many of the city’s suburbs, electricity poles, made of concrete, are in bad condition. Residents say they are afraid the poles will collapse when it rains, and cause major accidents.
K. Ganesan, a resident of Muthamizh Nagar in Kodungaiyur, said there were eight blocks in the locality, where most of the electric poles were made of concrete. “The foundation of most of these poles is extremely weak, and they pose a hazard to road users,” he said.
Residents in the area have already submitted complaints to the local office of the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco). “In most areas water stagnates for many days, especially since it is monsoon season now, and this weakens the poles. When we contacted Tangedco officials, they said new poles had been sanctioned and the old ones would be renovated in three months,” he said. “They also came and conducted a poll to find out how many consumers there were, so they could lay underground cables. But we are still waiting for a solution,” he added.
In many areas of Adambakkam, electric poles are precariously perched. Here too, residents are afraid the recent showers will lead to their collapse, if action is not taken on time to secure them.
Poles in several localities such as NGO Colony, Telephone Colony and Secretariat Colony have not been replaced for decades now, alleged residents.
Padma Gunalan, a resident of Adambakkam, said that poles in their area were so damaged that iron rods were jutting out for them, and they were in urgent need of attention. Several poles on City Link Road, which serves as a bus route road, are on the brink of collapse, she added.
“These weak poles are a huge hazard as the street bustles with traffic. What if they collapse on motorists? Though the authorities concerned admit that these unstable structures pose a danger, not much has been done so far,” she said.
In some areas of Madhavaram zone, electric poles are generally used to tether cattle and their areas are overgrown with vegetation. Overhead electricity lines too, hang precariously and pose a threat to residents of thickly-populated areas, said V. Kamala of Madhavaram. Those areas where connections were provided prior to 1990 still have overhead electricity cables.
However in Pattabiram, the situation has improved over the past few days, as a majority of such utility poles have been replaced.
K.S. Gopalakrishnan, social worker from Pattabiram, said, “It would be better if the power cables are laid underground. They can use latest technology to identify faults and then there will be no chance of cables snapping and claiming lives.”
A senior Tangedco official said that many poles are being installed for those who have sought new connections, including those in agriculture services. “Poles are available but the demand is high. Besides, there is also financial constraint,” said the official. He said that section officers had the power to identify electrical faults in the locality and rectify them.