WITH SEVERAL on-field staff workers of the UT Electricity Department still not having basic equipment like rubber gloves, safety belts, raincoats and other protective gear, the security of the electrical linemen in Chandigarh continues to be under threat.
In the last two years, there have been about 10 on-field accidents of electrical linemen in the city. Just last month, there was a reported incident of a lineman suffering injuries while working on a live wire without equipment. “On May 13, one of our linemen met with an accident while working in Sector 41. He is still admitted to PGI, and is yet to recover. In the recent past, more such accidents have occurred,” general secretary of UT Power Men Union Gopal Dutt Joshi told Chandigarh Newsline.
On Saturday, members of the union met with Superintending Engineer of the UT Electricity Department M P Singh in order to discuss the need for more safety gear for workers. During the meeting, members of the UT Power Men Union also raised the issue of shortage of staff in the Electricity Department.
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According to records, against the sanctioned strength of 625 assistant linemen, currently there are only 286 in the UT Electricity Department. Further, even though 250 linemen have been sanctioned by the Electricity Department, currently only 157 are working.
Discussing the pending issues of the employees of the UT Electricity Department, Singh stated, “We are systematically considering all the demands that have been raised. As far as the issue regarding purchase of safety gear is concerned, there has been some delay for now, but tenders have already been floated. We are hoping that the process will be completed soon, and within a month perhaps, the safety gear will be provided to the linemen.” Singh added that a process for filling of vacant posts had been initiated already, and approval from the Ministry of Power was now awaited.
However, the electrical linemen are not satisfied with the response of the UT Electricity Department. The linemen believe that the Electricity Department’s lenient attitude towards provision of safety gear has been putting their lives at risk. “Time and again, we are told that tenders have been floated for acquiring safety gear, but for the last two years, we have not witnessed any substantial results. For linemen like us, each time we work on live wires, we put our lives at stake due to absence of protective gear,” added Joshi.
After having met with Singh again on Saturday, members of the UT Power Men Union now hope that the department succeeds in providing them protective gear before the onset of monsoon. “The danger of working with live wires increases manifold during the rainy season. We do hope that we are at least provided with the required gear well ahead of that,” said Amit Passi, an electrical lineman from Mauli Colony.