Overhead power lines continue to pose threat to life
DOT Desk: Exposed overhead power supply lines in the capital and other cities and towns in Bangladesh pose serious threat to life as the responsible government agencies failed to take the lines underground in the last five years after they had started a move to do so, reports the NeW Age.
City and town residents said that due to the indifference of the power supplying companies an unspecified number of people were electrocuted almost on a regular basis. They said that electric lines turned more dangerous when other service-providing cables were put together haphazardly in residential areas.
The main problem, according to residents, is that live power lines in many cases are easily reachable from houses particularly in congested lanes and by-lanes. Officials said that the Dhaka Power Distribution Company Ltd in 2014 initiated a project to conceal its 1,200-km-long power lines in Dhaka and Narayanganj underground to avert the risk.
DPDC executive director Md Ramiz Uddin Sarker said that due to some unavoidable reasons they were yet to be able to take any cable underground, but he noted that some paper works in this regard were completed. He went on to claim that 10 per cent of the project work was completed with the consultant for the project being appointed.
Residents of the capital city pointed out that high-tension power lines in many areas had no plastic covering, which were more dangerous.
The burn unit of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital treats at least 600 burn cases monthly, the majority of whom are victim of burns from electric wires, the unit’s resident surgeon Partha Sankar Paul told New Age on Thursday.
On August 2, 13-year-old Mofazzel Hossain Rihab died at the DMCH after he was electrocuted at Konapara, Matuail.
Rihab’s father Didar Hossain said that the boy went to play cricket at a playground near their house on that sunny Friday as his school was closed.
Local people said, a six-grader of local Salauddin School, Rihab was suddenly electrocuted when he went to collect the ball from the roof of a two-storied building.
On the same day, Shamim Hossain, 23, a plastic factory worker at city’s Lalbagh, died after he inadvertently came in touch with an exposed power line.
According to DMCH burn unit officials, like Rihab and Shamim several hundred people get exposed to electrocution daily while some receive injuries and some die.
While visiting different areas of the capital, New Age found power lines touching balconies and windows on the first floor and occasionally the second floor of residential buildings.
It was also found in city’s Motijheel and Gulistan areas that open electric wires turned into ‘jungles’ of cables as other service lines including telephone, dish and internet cables were bundled together or side by side posing high risks of accident.
At several places high-voltage transformers were found on poles pretty close to houses exposing them to risk of accidents.
House owners complained that the authorities of the capital’s power utility turned a deaf ear to their repeated requests to remove risky power supply lines.
Power transformers sometimes explode in different areas causing serious injuries to people and heavy damages to properties, they said.
Especially in Old Dhaka, as they remarked, high-tension power lines and transformers in many congested areas are easily reachable from houses, which trigger accidents quite frequently.
Power supply utility officials said that they were left with no option in narrow roads and lanes but to draw power lines in close proximity to houses and the lines go even closer where owners illegally extended out their balconies.
DMCH doctors said that it was not uncommon for children to get injured due to electrocution while playing on balconies.
Bangladesh Institute of Planners vice-president Professor Akter Mahmud said that deaths by electrocution occurred due to sheer negligence of the power agencies, house owners and the monitoring authorities.
He noted that overhead power cables posed threat to life in any city or town in Bangladesh but it was especially high in the capital for its high population and narrow roads.
He mentioned that they had been urging the government for decades to take the electric cables underground but there was still no headway in this connection.