Many lives have been lost due to electrocution and fire.


New Delhi: The tangled and loose hanging high-tension electrical wires running across almost all residential colonies in Delhi are a common sight and this has over the years taken away many lives which have been lost due to electrocution and fire.

Over the last three years, at least 1,000 calls of short circuit have been received by the Delhi Fire Services (DFS) and all of them, according to DFS officials, were due to the loose hanging high-tension wires which caused the fire.

According to some reports and data available, more than 150 cases of death related to electrocution have been reported from different parts of the city and the situation gets worse during the monsoon season when the chances of wires breaking and falling on the ground increases. The sight of high-tension, entangled electrical wires criss-crossing is predominant in every residential colony in Delhi, be it the upmarket Greater Kailash in South Delhi to the crowded market place in Central Delhi’s Karol Bagh to Patel Nagar in West Delhi.

Residents often complain about how they are constantly living in fear of any mishap as these wires pass through their balconies.  On the condition of anonymity, a DFS official told The Sunday Guardian that the electric poles and the wires were earlier away from the buildings, but with time when the population of Delhi increased and people started encroaching public land, these wires have now moved towards their residential complexes.

The condition is worse in most of the unauthorised colonies where these high-tension wires criss-cross right over the balconies of these houses in these colonies, making it even more dangerous.  In old Delhi, earlier known as Shahjahanabad, these entangled wires forma part of tourist attraction where tour guides give glimpses of these high-tension wires crisscrossing the narrow by-lanes to the tourists, much to their shock and awe.  DFS officials posted at the Old Delhi area say that it is by God’s grace that no major fire incidents have taken place in the recent past as it would be very difficult for them to even enter these areas if any such major fire incident takes place due to the narrow and crowded lanes.

“We are thankful to God that no major fire incident has ever taken place here and God forbid, if anything happens then many lives will be lost. We do not have such equipment and vehicles to enter these narrow lanes. The high-tension wires are so thickly entangled with each other, it will even become difficult for the electricity distributor to identify the fault,” a DFS official told The Sunday Guardian on the condition of anonymity.

The DFS official also said that most of these wires are also not insulated at places where they should be and the bare poles are mostly right on the road posing greater threat to human lives.

During the February elections, the Aam Aadmi Party promised to convert all of Delhi’s overhead high-tension wires into underground cabling as in many developed nations to mitigate the risk to human lives.  But BSES, one of the largest DISCOMs in Delhi, has been saying that underground cabling is an expensive work and have also shifted the blame to the road constructing authorities who were supposed to make ducts underground for laying of these underground cables.

“There is no doubt that underground cabling is a risk mitigator when it comes to safety, but such cabling is a very costly affair. Maintenance of underground cabling is also very cost intensive, it delays the repair work, it makes it difficult for our engineers to identify the fault if any occurs. Moreover, for laying underground cables, the road constructing authorities should have laid the ducts before laying the road, and no authorities have done any such planning,” a BSES official told this correspondent.