Who caused park tragedy?

Workers sent by a contractor skinned a live wire, stole electricity, and left the wire uninsulated. A boy stepped on the wire and was electrocuted. No official agency is owning up.
Last Updated 26 February 2019, 18:38 IST

Who is responsible for the tragic electrocution of a seven-year-old boy at a park on Sunday?

No one knows. Metrolife called a host of agencies---BBMP, BDA and Bescom--- and each one of them passed the blame.

Uday Kumar was electrocuted when he playing on February 24. He was with his younger brother at Dr Rajkumar Park near Kullappa Circle in Kammanahalli, when he stepped on a live wire.

Uday Kumar
Uday Kumar

The wire had been left uninsulated for eight to 10 weeks, according to senior officials with the BBMP. “We don’t know who is responsible, but we will conduct an inquiry and take action,” mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun told Metrolife.

About 1,450 parks are under the control of the BBMP.“I have written to the officials to take a look at the safety measures. This is clearly a case of negligence but only a detailed inquiry will establish who is responsible,” she says.

Some parks have ponds, and Gangambike says having a watchman 24/7 might help.

“I have also directed officials not to keep ponds and fountain spaces open if they have no water. These spaces must be covered,” she says.

The mayor also shifted the blame on parents: “Children must never be left unattended in public places. Had the mother of the child been there, the incident could have been averted.”

What BESCOM says

A senior Bescom official says BBMP was renovating the park, and so is responsible for the tragedy.

Reading out from an official statement, the official blamed an unnamed “agency” working on the renovation for taking illegally tapping a wire.

He says the workers skinned out the insulated wire at various points for welding, and left it uninsulated after their work was done.

“A detailed report is awaited,” he says. “The BBMP has been informed to take action against the said agency.”

The local Bescom executive engineer will take legal action against the agency for unauthorised use of electricity, adds the official.

Meanwhile, Banaswadi police have filed an FIR against unnamed officials of the BBMP, BDA and the contractor.

“We are looking into the matter,” a senior inspector told Metrolife.

Criminal negligence

- In May last year, a boy who parked his cycle against an electric pole in Fraser Town was electrocuted. No one knows what happened to the case, and whether the Bescom employee responsible for the negligence faced any official action.

- In October 2018, a 27-year-old lineman of Bescom was electrocuted when he was repairing a supply line at Sampige Road in Malleswaram. He climbed the electric pole without any safety gear and was electrocuted when he came in contact with a live wire. Most linemen get to work without wearing gloves and boots.

Kin can claim damages

K D Despande, head of the legal cell, BBMP, says the complainant can claim damages.
“If the negligence is proved then a departmental inquiry will be initiated. A show cause notice will be issued,” says Despande. Officials found guilty can be charged under Section 304A for dereliction of duty. “It could be a BBMP internal inquiry or a case in the city civil court, depending on the nature of the case,” he says.

(Published 26 February 2019, 14:37 IST)

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