Assam: Forum appeals for electrical distribution rearrangements in India


Guwahati: Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA) expresses concern over the deaths of many individuals due to electrocution in India and calls for a debate to change the standard domestic voltages from 240 (alternate current with 50 hertz) to 120 or even lower in volt

India as a nation witnesses nearly 10000 people killed annually because of electrocution. Accidental electrocution (including few suicidal attempts) cases are reportedly high in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Andhra
Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Kerala, Odisha, Uttarkhand, Assam etc.

The faulty high voltage wiring arrangement also kills dozens of animals like elephants, tigers, sloth bears, monkeys, flamingos peacocks etc. Not less than 350 elephants died in the country because of electrocution during the last five years. The list includes casualties of over 180 flamingos, 65 leopards, 20 tigers, 15 sloth bears, 10 lions etc in the same period.

Assam lost 979 human lives due to electrocution since 2001-02, where the highest number of electrocution casualties (88) was recorded in 2016-17. More shockingly the State witnessed 57 electrocution related deaths in the last four months (April, May, June and July 2017). “The statistics relating to electrocution deaths remain appalling. We believe that a pragmatic action plan over the layout of high voltage live wires, its timely maintenance, adequate public awareness over the use of electrical appliances safely in the country becomes the need of the hour,” said a statement issued by the forum.

Endorsed by many qualified engineers, the statement added that the use of bamboo or other living trees to carry out the electrical wires should (must) be stopped and the Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd must replace all such temporary poles across the State with prescribed posts.

The forum also insists on using proper fuse wires (or other protective arrangements) as a precautionary measure in all electrical systems. Replacing thin fuse wires of low current rating with aluminum conductors ( or other wires) of high current rating in low to medium
voltage electrical equipments is nothing but inviting a disaster, claimed the statement.

“As the electrical wiring can create public health hazards, the authority must deal with the safety issue in right perspective. The State electricity department should create a responsive safety department along with trained safety officers at the earliest,”pointed out the forum.

Mentioning about the future need of energy the government should encourages more alternate sources like solar power in the country, particularly for northeastern States with hilly terrains, forest covers with visible presence of wildlife, where the laying of high voltage wires for longer distances always invites difficulties, opined the forum.

Where possible, the underground laying of live wires, instead of overhead electrical distribution system, should be encouraged. The underground wiring system should be separated from other utility services including the sewage canals by a reasonable margin to avoid adversities, it opined.

“Finally India should debate whether 110/120 volt may be an adoptable option in place of present 220/240 volt to reduce the fatality of the system. At least developed nations like USA, UK and even our Asian friend Japan use lower volt lines to reduce the risk factors,” stated the forum.

Otherwise, two independent live/phases (each of 110/120 volt) with one neutral wire arrangement can be adopted where the customers may opt for single phase line only to use in lighting (preferably with LED bulbs), digital screening of television, computer, mobile phones etc and low watt fans. Others, who prefer to use heavy electrical appliances, may go for multi-phase supply lines.

“We understand that it would be a major policy shift for a country like India involving a huge volume of resources with adequate preparedness. But if India as a nation prefers to put its weight in favour of precious human lives, we must actively debate over the matter. The qualified engineers, in particular, should come out with pragmatic ideas for an adoptable resolution,” concluded the statement.

Endorsed by Gandhian Natwar Thakkar, Dr Gopal Krishna (Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties), senior advocate Upamanyu Hazarika, eminent author-journalist-citizens Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Monalisa Changkija, Rupam Barua, Saleem Samad, Bidhayak Das, Dr SI Ahmed, Dr Jagadindra Raichoudhury, Dr Buljit Buragohain, Dhiraj Goswami, Pramod Kalita, Anup Sarma, Ujjal Saikia, Er Tridip Sarma, Er Islamul H. Mandal, Er Vikramjit Kakati, Er Kushal Chandra Deka, Er Nava J. Thakuria etc for PPFA.

This Press Release was sent by T Navajyoti, who can be contacted at tnavajyoti(at)gmail(dot)com.


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