Metrolife: Bescom indifferent to safety on streets

This pole in Lingararajapuramhas cables extending on to the road.

Broken junction boxes and uninsulated live wires are a common sight all over the city. And citizen safety is in peril every single day. Earlier this week, two brothers were electrocuted at their farmhouse when they came into contact with a live wire near Hesaraghatta.

Bescom is in the dock for poor safety, especially during the monsoon. Top officials Metrolife contacted only spoke of new cable projects, and wouldn’t speak about other existing hazards.

 An official says high voltage lines of 11,000 volts and above automatically trip when anything falls on them, or when they accidentally come into human contact, but that is not borne out by accidents being reported. 

“Lines of 400 volts and below have protection from inside the transformer itself,” says a senior official. Most existing electrical cables will soon be replaced with bunched insulated cables, he says.

“All aluminium conductors will be replaced with bunched insulated cables. These are thick ropes that look like twisted cables, and will be laid across 1,000 km in Bengaluru,” he says. 

He talks of two types of cables. The aerial black cables are made of aluminium inside and are insulated with black plastic. The high voltage cables, also with aluminium inside the aerial black cables, are insulated with an orange-coloured sheath.  If these cables are accidentally touched, nothing happens, he says.

“We attend to any problem as soon as we get to know about it. Each zone has between 25 and 38 vehicles only for maintenance. Bescom staff move around and monitor electrical poles prone to danger,” an official says.

Bescom staff regularly trim tree branches and ensure a gap of two to three feet between poles and the trees, he claims.

Punishment for neglect  
Bescom staff are trained to attend to hanging live wires, damaged poles, and faulty electrical lines. If they neglect their work and pocket money meant for safety equipment, they can be suspended and sacked. But Metrolife could find no report of anyone being sacked for neglecting safety.

In coma
Earlier this week, a 15-year-old boy who parked his cycle against an electric pole near his tution teacher’s house suffered a severe shock from a live wire that Bescom had left hanging. He is in a coma right now.

5 kids electrocuted
Five children have lost their limbs to electric shocks.

Fall to death
A software engineer in his early thirties was electrocuted when he accidentally slipped and fell from the balcony of his house on to a live wire just outside his house in Yeshwantpur.

Be aware
Don’t touch electrical poles when it rains.
Don’t stick posters on electric poles.
If a piece of cloth or a kite falls on an electric wire, alert Bescom staff immediately. Don’t try to take it down.

Help?
The Bescom helpline is 1912, but Metrolife has reported how it takes forever to get through.
Customer care numbers: 080 2287 3333 and 99868 73333.

Rajendra Cholan, MD, Bescom, says, "Faulty roadside transformers have been identified and are being replaced. We are also on a drive to identify faulty fuses and prune tree branches near power lines. Bescom is replacing overhead lines with underground cables. These steps, we believe, will go a long way in ensuring safety and uninterrupted supply. Eventually, we must make sure light winds and showers don’t damage the wires." 

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Metrolife: Bescom indifferent to safety on streets

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