Tangedco officials’ failure orphans two girls

An open junction box on a flooded Dr Ambedkar College Road,Vysarpadi in Chennai. —PHOTO: K.V. SRINIVASAN  

A day after two girls, aged 6 and 3, were orphaned when an overhead power cable snapped and electrocuted their parents while riding a motorbike in Velachery in Chennai, the TANGEDCO suspended four staff for failing to rectify the precariously dangling cables on time. Among those who faced action were an Assistant Divisional Engineer and an Assistant Engineer.

While the TANGEDCO authorities might remain content with the action, six-year-old Aarthisri, who escaped with minor injuries, lives in the belief that her parents are undergoing treatment in hospital.

Her younger sister, Nithyasri, does not even realise she was orphaned.

Aarthisri innocently recalls that she along with her sister had hopped on to the motorbike driven by her father Karunanidhi and mother Sudha riding pillion after purchasing dosa batter.

“I was sitting in front of my father, while my mother was holding my sister. Suddenly, an electric wire fell on my father. I and my sister were thrown off the vehicle, while my mother who held on to my father suffered a shock,” she says.

Relatives took the two children with the bodies of their parents to their native village in Tiruchi on Monday.

Meanwhile, TANGEDCO officials were on a post-mortem mode, examining the cause of the moving tragedy. “A spot enquiry by the Executive Engineer showed that the suspended staff had failed to carry out periodic inspection and maintenance. Several electrocution-related deaths have occurred in Chennai due to rains, but this is the only incident where our staff were directly responsible for an accident,” acknowledges a senior official. Electrocution because of live wire being submerged in flooded roads is not a rarity.

“This is the first time an electricity wire snapped and fell on a motorist causing a fatal accident,” he adds.

Denying allegations that the TANGEDCO had not done its homework before the onset of the monsoon, the official insists that as part of the preparatory measures areas prone to water logging were identified across the State and sagging overhead power lines and damaged pillar boxes were replaced.

The TANGEDCO was undertaking periodical maintenance work every month and focussed on pruning of trees where overhead electricity wires were there.

Asked about residents lamenting that their complaints to replace overhead wires had not yielded any action, the official admits that such cases have been fudged. The public could lodge complains directly with senior officials over phone or at the call centre number 1912.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 7:43:29 AM |

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