A number of deaths take place every year due to people coming in contact with these live wires

A large number of legislators from both the Treasury and Opposition benches raised the demand for removal of high tension wires from above the villages and unauthorised colonies in the Delhi Assembly on Tuesday.

The issue was raised during the Question Hour when the members demanded to know from Power Minister Haroon Yusuf the steps taken to remove the high tension wires from above the unauthorised colonies and villages as a number of deaths took place every year due to people coming in contact with these live wires.

Responding to the queries raised by various MLAs, Mr. Yusuf said a new policy on shifting of high tension electricity lines that pose a threat to human lives was formulated in November 2009.

The Minister also informed the House that in 2010, six people were killed and three injured after coming in contact with high tension wires; in 2011 the figure was six deaths and 41 injured while so far in 2012 five deaths have been caused by high tension wires.

Congress MLA Surender Kumar said the Rural Development Board had come out with a scheme to remove the high tension wires. However, he noted with regret that rather than removing the wires, the Power Department had issued notices to houses in villages over which these passed. “Unlike the unauthorised colonies,” he said, “the villages came up first and the wires were made to pass over them later.” Yet, notices were issued to many of the residents and their houses were demolished, he charged.

At this, the Minister clarified that it was before the policy was formulated that the notices were issued and the demolitions took place.

Anil Kumar of Congress asked if the MLA Local Area Development budget could also be used for removal of high tension wires.

Mr. Yusuf then said that the MLAs can recommend use of the fund for the purpose and once the proposal was approved by the Urban Development Department, the Power Department would contribute its share of 50 per cent too for removal of the high tension wires.

He, however, added that at present this fund could not be used for removal of wires from above the 1639 unauthorised colonies to which the provisional certificates had been issue. But, Mr. Yusuf acknowledged that this proposal was under consideration of the Government.

Senior BJP leader Jagdish Mukhi charged that despite three years having passed since the policy had been formulated, the Government has not used it to remove the high tension wires. He asked that the Minister furnish the details of the colonies from above which these wires had been removed to which Mr. Yusuf said he did not have the data in hand immediately. Later, Mr. Yusuf said Rs. 94 lakh have been spent on shifting of high tension wires during the current fiscal as against Rs. 1 crore in the last financial year.

He said these works have been undertaken in the areas of four MLAs – namely in Mala Ram Gangwal's area of Basai Daraput, Mangat Ram Singhal's Jahangirpuri, Bijender Singh's Bhaira Enclave and A.K. Walia's Mother Dairy.

The Minister also asked the MLAs to ponder how and why the colonies rose up under the high tension wires. He said in some places people were taking their buildings so high that these wires now passed barely a couple of feet from their roofs.

At the time of passing of the policy in 2009, Ms. Dikshit had stated that it has become necessary from the safety point of view to avoid demolition of structure falling within the right of way of high tension and low tension lines and therefore the power distribution companies had prepared 276 schemes for shifting of HT/LT lines of 11 kV as well as 33 kV and LT lines of 400 V respectively.

She had also noted that as per the policy, shifting will be done through the MLA local area development funds in the 20-point programme colonies, lal dora areas and extended lal dora areas.

  • MLAs can recommend use of the Local Area Development fund for the purpose: Minister

  • ‘Villages came up first and wires were passed over them later, still houses were demolished'