The Telegraph
Saturday , December 8 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary

Electrocution fear as cables dangle low over fields

Tamluk, Dec. 7: Overhead power cables in four East Midnapore villages are dangling so low that 12 cows have been electrocuted and farmers forced to switch off connections before paddy harvesting.

“We have repeatedly asked the local supply office (of the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited) to take steps but nothing has been done so far. Last week, we protested in front of the office at Kolaghat,” said Shyam Bhowmik, 38, a farmer from Manoharpur.

The sagging wires havebecome a problem for residents of Kolaghat’s Manoharpur, Ramchandrapur, Gajoi and Sajnagachhi villages.

They said at least 12 cows out to graze had been electrocuted in the past three months.

“So we switch off the transformer with bamboo sticks every time we go for harvesting. We know it is risky but we have no option,” Bhowmik said.

The transformer is installed at Manoharpur. Power is supplied through this transformer to the four villages.

The station manager of WBSEDCL’s Kolaghat power supply office, Subhendu Chakraborty, said the cables were dangling low because several electricity posts had become shaky and tilted.

“Some old and damaged posts in the paddy fields will have to be changed. Work could not be taken up because cultivation is going on. We will start replacing posts and restoring the overhead cables after the harvesting,” Chakraborty said.

Told that the farmers were switching off the transformers themselves, Chakraborty said: “I am not aware of it. I will have to find out.”

The villagers have snapped the overhead cable at Ramchandrapur, which supplies power to the six irrigation pumps the villagers operate.

Ramchandrapur farmer Lakshmikanta Dolui, who owns one of the pumps and cultivates paddy on five bighas, said the cables in his village had drooped as low as 2ft from the ground.

“In many places, the cables can’t be seen because of the standing crop. We don’t want to take any risk. So we have severed the cables from the transformer,” Dolui said.

He added that local electricians had helped the farmers to cut the cables.

“The electricians also help us switch the transformers on and off. The power is switched off in the morning, when farmers start work, and switched on in the evening,” Dolui said.

Officials at the Kolaghat power supply office warned against accidents.

“If the villagers are operating transformers themselves, it is dangerous. It is the job of trained electricians. An accident can happen any time,” an official said.