A 38-year old worker was electrocuted due to short circuit at a kitchen shed attached to a hotel at Nilackal base camp of Sabarimala pilgrims, 20 km away from Pampa, on Thursday morning.

According to police, the deceased has been identified as Balamurugan from Madurai in Tamil Nadu.

The incident took place around 6 a.m. when the worker touched a steel wire connected to a fluorescent tube fixed to a rubber tree close by the shed. Balamurugan was rushed to the Government dispensary at Nilackal where he was declared dead, later.

The body has been sent to Pathanamthitta General Hospital for post-mortem. Pampa police registered a case for unnatural death.

The hotel belongs to a contractor from Seethathode. The incident is said to be the fall out of unauthorised extension of the hotel building. It is alleged that similar unauthorised extensions and illegal electric connections have become a regular feature at various temporary sheds erected by contractors at Nilackal base camp where not less than 5000 heavy vehicles park on a daily basis during the annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrim season.

According to official sources, the Travancore Devaswom Board has let out space for running a total of 11 hotels, two commercial blocks and 10 other stalls at the Nilackal base camp during the ongoing pilgrim season. However, it is alleged almost all the contractors have made unauthorised extensions to their commercial establishment in blatant violation of the contractual obligations, leaving enough room for such mishaps.

Though the Kerala State Electricity Board have deployed special squad to check unlawful use of electricity at the pilgrims’ base camp, it is alleged that the contractors have extended electric connections from their temporary buildings, violating the prevailing norms, posing danger to life property of the people.

Chief Engineer inspects site

Meanwhile, KSEB Chief Engineer, K. Radhakrishnan, inspected the mishap site on Thursday forenoon.

Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Radhakrishnan said KSEB has made it compulsory to install Earth Fault Circuit Breakers at every building with electricity connection at Sabarimala in an effort to check any such mishap at the pilgrim centre.

However, the circuit breaker installed at the mishap-hit hotel shed was found faulty, leading to the electrocution of the worker, he said. He said KSEB would also initiate stern action against the licensee of the hotel who have made unauthorised extension of the electric connection resulting in the death of a worker.

The Chief Engineer said directions have already been issued to the KSEB staff at Sabarimala, Pampa and Nilackal to inspect the circuit breakers installed at various buildings and ensure its proper functioning on a war-footing basis.

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