The Telegraph
Wednesday , July 2 , 2014
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Aaargh! This is a manmade bolt

- Wet transformer in crowded Jugsalai alley poses fatal danger for 5000, power bosses blame mushrooming homes

If a bolt from the sky doesn’t hit you, get a jolt on the road.

Welcome to monsoon in Jugsalai, home to 80,000 residents and hundreds of wholesale and retail shops, hotels and trading houses, the city’s entrance from Tatanagar station. Here, a live transformer standing on a narrow, slushy lane of Purani Basti area has electrocuted three cows and injured two youths this rainy season.

Hemmed in by homes, a three-decade-old mosque named Panchi Masjid and New National School, a government-aided secondary institution run by state Waqf Board, the 500KV pole-mounted distribution transformer poses a danger to at least 5,000 people who live in the area.

In monsoon, as water stands on the lane, the transformer shoots electric shocks, zapping pedestrians and commuters. Accidental contact with the pole can be downright fatal.

A fortnight ago, three cows owned by a local milkman were electrocuted. More recently, two persons suffered jolts but survived.

One Mohammed Saif (25), riding through the alley, got a shock when a wire touched his bike while resident Shauk Mohammed, whose house is within touching distance from the transformer, suffered a jolt when its earthing system came in contact with his gate.

Adding insult to injury, the alley doesn’t have streetlights.

Hum logon ke liye andhere mein iss galli se nikalna mushkil hai. Torch le kar chalte hai taki transformer se galti se satth na jaye. Baccho ke liye bada dar laga rehta hai (It is very tough to walk along this lane after dusk without streetlights. We always keep a torch with us to avoid touching the transformer. We stay very worried for our children),” Shauk Mohammed said.

Homemaker Shabnam Perveen of Panchi Masjid area said they did not allow children to go to the lane during monsoon without adult supervision. “Kids want to play, but we can’t allow them to play with their lives,” she said.

Last week, residents submitted a complaint with subdivisional officer Abhay Kumar of Jugsalai-based Jharkhand Urja Vikas Nigam Limited, formerly JSEB.

“Kumar only gave us verbal assurance to shift the transformer. Let us see,” resident Mohammed Sartaz said.

Kumar, on his part, pleaded helplessness. “The transformer was set up nearly two decades earlier. Then, there weren’t many houses on this lane. Over the years, many new houses have come up around the transformer. There is no space anywhere in the locality to shift the transformer. We are searching for a suitable site elsewhere,” he said.

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