Close on the heels of the five labourers dying after coming in contact with a snapped overhead 11KV power line at Darga Honnur village of Bommanahal mandal in Anantapur district, a tenant farmer died in a similar accident in the same village on November 23 (Thursday). A snapped electric wire fell on the switchboard of the motor, resulting in the death of the farmer.
Such accidents are occurring frequently in the undivided Anantapur district. A woman and her son died at Varadaipalli in Peddapappur mandal on February 23, 2021, followed by five persons getting electrocuted while travelling in an autorickshaw at Tadimarri in Sri Sathya Sai district on June 30 this year. Within a month of the incident, a farmer got electrocuted and a delivery died afert a snapped wire fell on him when he was riding a bike at Peddapappur a week later.
These incidents raise questions over the safety of the power infrastructure. When The Hindu tried to find out the ground realities, the people in the know of power supply network said that an estimated 10,000 electric poles and conductors on the powerlines over a stretch of 400 km needed replacement in the undivided Anantapur district.
Some conductors and poles set up way back in 1962. Periodical checks are done and the essential ones are replaced. However, the vagaries of nature adds to the problems of the department when it comes maintaining of the power supply network.
However, the authorities say that fund crunch has hit the power distribution company hard. “Government departments are yet to clear power bill of ₹546 crore and ₹71 crore need to be collected from the other consumers. Out of ₹71 crore, only ₹14 crore was by October 31,” said Superintending Engineer M. Surendra.
Out of ₹546 crore, he said, the Panchayat Raj Department has a pending bill of ₹504 crore and municipalities have a due of ₹24 crore.