OVER a month after an eight-year-old boy was electrocuted in a residential society in Market Yard, Pune Police have booked an officer and a staffer from the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) on charges of causing death due to negligence.
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The boy, Prithviraj Baban Bidwe, was electrocuted after he accidentally touched a ‘feeder pillar’, a cabinet full of electrical switchboards and meters.
The incident took place on September 18, when Prithviraj was playing with his friends in an open space near the parking lot of the Todkar Garden Society at Bibwewadi Road in Market Yard. The ball the children were playing with, got stuck in the cabinet. When Prithviraj tried to retrieve the ball, he was electrocuted. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was declared dead.
While a case of sudden death was registered at Market Yard police station, further investigation led to the filing of a case, on charges of causing death due to negligence, under Section 304 (A) of the Indian Penal Code. Based on primary investigation, police have booked MSEDCL officer Avinash Vilas Waghmare and another employee, G D Ugale, who were responsible for the upkeep of the ‘feeder pillar’.
A police officer from Market Yard police station said, “The documents show that the MSEDCL officer and staffer were aware of the bad condition of the pillar and the fact that it had a few open wires. In spite of this, neither was a warning board put up nor were any measures taken to avoid mishaps. This negligence has led to the death of a child”.
The officer added that the two accused, Waghmare and Ugale, were yet to be arrested.
Meanwhile several activists have urged authorities to conduct a thorough survey of the power distribution network in the city to check the condition of electrical equipment.
When contacted, Ramrao Munde, chief engineer of MSEDCL’s Pune zone, said the power company continuously carried out checks to see if there were any open wires. However, MSEDCL authorities claimed that the door of the DP box was often stolen by “miscreants”, leaving the electrical panel open.
“We have also cautioned citizens to avoid contact with live cables to prevent accidents. During Diwali, we have urged children to be particularly careful,” said Munde.
Authorities of the state electricity company have also warned the public not to tie decorative and electric lights to any metal pole, as a leak may “charge” the pole, and anyone who touches it will suffer an electric shock.