The pole from which the high-tension wire snapped off in Sonari on Sunday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
A 11,000KVA high-tension wire snapped from an overhead cable and crashed on the road on rainy Sunday at 11am close to densely populated residential areas of Sonari, Jamshedpur, and lay for one-and-half hours before Jharkhand State Electricity Board officials cleared it away.
Though it spluttered live sparks for the initial 20 minutes, no electrocution casualties were reported partly due to luck and partly due to the prompt action of residents who blocked the roads near Nurses Quarters Chowk in Sonari, Jamshedpur, where the live wire fell on the road without warning.
The incident — allegedly a fallout of JSEB’s poor maintenance — could have proved fatal on a normal day, as the live wire fell a stone’s throw from Jhabri Bagan locality, 1km away from Adarsh Nagar Housing Complex, 1.5km from Ashiana Gardens and 2km from Rivers’ Meet. But due to the intermittent rain on Sunday, very few people were out.
Those who were, acted with presence of mind, blocking the wet roads leading to Jhabri Bagan and informing JSEB officials.
JSEB officials from Uliyan power sub-station came almost an hour later. By the time the wire was removed, it was nearly 1pm. Residents kept blocking the roads and warning pedestrians till the high-tension wire was finally removed.
Due to this commendable civic vigil, JSEB could do their work without distraction. However, it points a finger at JSEB’s irregular maintenance.
“We have no confidence in JSEB as there is hardly any maintenance of the power transmission system. If they checked insulators properly, then such an incident would not have occurred,” said Bipul Singh, a resident near Nurses Quarters Chowk.
Sunil Kumar, subdivisional officer (electrical), JSEB (Jamshedpur division), however, strongly denied charges of poor maintenance.
“There was a technical snag in the insulator of the high-tension line that passes from Uliyan to Sonari through Jhabri Bagan area, causing the power line to snap. But we have already removed the dismantled wire and started taking steps to get the insulator mended,” the SDO (electrical) told The Telegraph.
Kumar pointed out the live wire crashed as the ceramic insulator was punctured. “It can happen anywhere, anytime,” the SDO (electrical) claimed.
“No one can guarantee when will an insulator made of ceramic will get punctured. But we check insulators regularly,” said the SDO.
After the official’s explanation, there is nothing for anyone to say.
Nearby resident Avinash Prasad said they had a divine escape. “It was fortunate that all of us were indoors due to the rain. If the live wire had fallen on any other day, who knows how many people would have been electrocuted,” he said.
Do you believe JSEB’s claim of regular maintenance?