Updated: September 8, 2021 6:52:46 am
Following reports of the death of a teenager in Tumakuru on Independence Day due to electrocution, the Karnataka High Court has directed electricity authorities to shift all high-tension electricity lines away from school campuses across the state.
As per the interim order, a Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum ordered impleading the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation (KPTCL) and other ESCOMs (electricity supply companies) in Karnataka to the proceedings of the petition. The action followed after the HC was informed that the ESCOMs were responsible to shift electricity lines below 66 kV. For those that are 66 kV and above, KPTCL has been directed to do the same.
The Bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition initiated on a suo motu basis by the court in 2019 after an incident of electrocution reported in August 2019 at Devaraj Urs Backward Classes Pre-metric Boys Hostel in Koppal district.
Meanwhile, the Tumakuru Deputy Commissioner (DC) had mentioned in his report after the preliminary probe into the August 15 incident that an 11 kV electricity line was “slightly shifted” towards the government school premises.
Noting this, the Bench said that it appeared that the DC was in connivance with the school authorities, had tried to give a different colour to the incident” as the report also stated that the boys tried to erect the flagpole “on their own.”
The Bench, while declining to accept the DC’s claim, directed the electricity authorities in Tumakuru to ensure action is taken to shift the lines away from the school premises within 30 days.
Further, the HC also termed the compensation amount of Rs 1 lakh announced to the kin of Chandan, the victim of the Tumakuru incident, as “meager”. The Bench also noted that government should pay Rs 10 lakh instead, as done after a similar incident in Bagalkot in February 2019.
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