Electrocution: 2 engineers suspended

Civic body is looking into complaints in all wards

The Greater Chennai Corporation has suspended two engineers in connection with the electrocution of a 35-year-old woman in Pulianthope on Monday.

The woman reportedly stepped on a live electrical cable in a waterlogged area of Narayana Samy Street in Pulianthope on Monday. Two days before the the accident, residents had filed a complaint about civic issues on Narayana Samy Street, pointing to the risk of electrocution in such waterlogged areas of the city.

According to officials, the engineers had reported that work on rectifying the defect had been completed after the complaint was registered by residents on September 12. But the accident reportedly occurred after the civic officials rectified the defect. “It is unfortunate,” said a civic official.

After the incident, the civic body has started assessing the issues reported by residents in all 200 wards of the city. Residents have complained that the risk of accidents to pedestrians has increased owing to poor maintenance of streetlights and electrical cables in many of the 39,000 roads in 15 zones of the city.

The civic body directed 700 workers to identify defects in 2.85 lakh streetlights and 7,220 pillar boxes in the city.

Dug-up streets

According to estimates by civic officials, more than 10% of the streets have been dug up by various line agencies ahead of the northeast monsoon, increasing the risk of such accidents. Some residents have dug up roads without permission.

Residents in various neighbourhoods have pointed to a delay in rectifying defects reported under the existing system to redress grievances. Many residents who call Corporation helpline 1913 have complained that there has been a delay in response from officials.

Many lower level civic officials have also closed the complaint without rectifying the defects reported by residents. At least 138 civic complaints under different heads are pending in various departments of Chennai Corporation this week, sources said.

Former Chennai Corporation floor leader V.Sukumar Babu said the delay in rectifying defects was caused by inadequate equipment available with the electrical department of the Corporation. “The number of workers has also reduced. As a result, officials are taking a long time to address civic issues,” he said.

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