The pole in Haridevpur on the city’s southern fringes that 11-year-old Nitish Yadav touched and got electrocuted on Sunday evening had loose wires hanging from it.
The pole on Mohammad Ishaq Road, in Haridevpur’s Paschim Putiary, belongs to BSNL. Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), however, has installed a street light on it.
Nitish moves closer to the edge of the road, probably because there is less water there, bends and touches the pole to steady himself.
Nitish slumps to the ground.
The stretch was flooded when Nitish, a student of Class VI, was walking through it. He was taken to MR Bangur Superspeciality Hospital, where he was declared dead.
The Telegraph spoke to residents of the area and electrical engineers (not associated with CESC or any government agency) who said some initiatives from the KMC could have prevented the boy’s death.
The lamp post in Haridevpur that Nitish Yadav touched on Monday evening.Picture by Pradip Sanyal
The pole belongs to BSNL but it is not meant for installing street lights, said an official of the utility.
Local councillor (Ward 115) Ratna Sur admitted that the street light attached to the pole “belongs to the KMC”.
CCTV footage of the incident showed how Nitish slumped on the waterlogged lane after touching the pole. An electrical engineer said the footage made it clear that the metal pole had become live, because of which the child got electrocuted.
Debasish Sarkar, chief general manager, Calcutta Telephone District, BSNL, said on Monday poles of the telephone service provider were not meant for street lights.
“The pole concerned is BSNL’s property. The power supply to such poles is 50 volts, which does not cause any harm to anyone,” he said.
“It seems some agency had attached lights to BSNL poles without our knowledge. The light connections have a high voltage. Had this been brought to our notice, we would not have allowed this,” Sarkar said.
“If there was no waterlogging and the boy wore a leather or rubber shoe, the electricity from the live pole would not have found a path to reach underground. Because of waterlogging the path became complete,” said Arindam Sil, an associate professor of electrical engineering at Jadavpur University.
Water, conductor of electricity, helped the current travel from the boy to the underground through it. “If the path from the pole to the underground was not complete, nothing would have happened to the boy,” Sil said.
Many residents complained that the road gets waterlogged even after 30 minutes’ rain.
On Sunday, the road had been waterlogged since the afternoon.
There are four pumps installed within a 500-metre perimeter of the lane, but residents alleged that none was pressed into service till the boy’s death sparked anger and brought police and senior KMC officials to the site.
“The pumps were switched on only after KMC officials and police arrived. Within 45 minutes the lane was free of waterlogging,” said Ajoy Mondal, a resident.
“Had the KMC run the pumps earlier, there would have been no waterlogging,” said Tinku Chakraborty, another resident.
An engineer from the KMC’s drainage department said they run the pumps as and when required. “There are several pumps located in that area. The pumps are run regularly when required,” said the engineer.