PDD bosses plugged ears when officials sounded safety alarm

Barely few days before a labourer was electrocuted here while working on a transmission line, officials from Power Development Department cold-shouldered a proposal to put in place key safety measure for its field staff.
PDD bosses plugged ears when officials sounded safety alarm
File Photo

Barely few days before a labourer was electrocuted here while working on a transmission line, officials from Power Development Department cold-shouldered a proposal to put in place key safety measure for its field staff.

Sources told Greater Kashmir that a meeting of top officials of PDD that took place in Jammu last week discussed various issues pertaining to "welfare" of the employees.

During the meeting, they said, a proposal for implementation of "Permit to Work" came up for discussion and a group of officials strongly supported the view to have the PTW in place. The PTW makes it obligatory on the Department to have in place all required safety measures before repair or any other work is started on transmission lines, grids or transformers. Under the system, the PDD's men in the field and authorities who control the supply at the source level put in writing all necessary measures that ought to be taken before the work is actually started. The aim of the practice is not only to ensure safety but also fix responsibility in case of any eventuality.

However, J&K is apparently the only State which doesn't implement the PTW and this negligence on part of the Department is seen as one of the major reasons for growing fatalities in the field.

"Unfortunately, the PTW procedures, prescribed by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC), are not being implemented in the State and JKPDD may be the only utility which is not implementing such a safety mechanism. The results are before us as our accident rate is highest," the sources said.

Following the accident and outcry over growing number of fatalities, the Department is now "seriously contemplating" to implement the PTW.

Officials have been maintaining that if the Department implements the PTW only, over 90 percent accidents could be prevented.

38-year-old Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat, a labourer was electrocuted here and his body remained hanging from the transmission line for almost an hour.

Meanwhile, the PDD has submitted a report about the incident to the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) which had taken a suo-motto cognizance of the case. The report was submitted by Executive Engineer Hilal Ahmad, informing the Commission that the Department has already initiated inquiry into the incident.

"I direct (the PDD) to pay an interim relief of Rs one lakh to the wife of the deceased. The Department shall submit the outcome of the inquiry to the Commission as soon as possible," an order issued by the SHRC Chairperson Justice (retd) Bilal Nazki, read.

Meanwhile, police said it has started investigation into the death of Bhat and has already arrested an employee of the Department in this connection.

"We are ascertaining the facts. We cross-checked the logbook of the department and found there was no entry made about the snapping of the line before the work had been started on it near Budshah Chowk," said Station House Officer, Police Station Maisuma, Mehraj-ud-Din Ahmad. "We are investigating the role of the higher staff of the Department in the incident and whosoever is found involved will be dealt under law."

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