Rourkela: Even as the ‘Smart City’ tag for the steel city resonates in its urban pockets as far as Ring Road, many places such as blocks, sectors and slums where a majority of the city’s population dwells look shabby and accident-prone due to electricity poles and a maze of live wires.
In many areas, concrete electricity poles are in bad condition. Residents say they always live under fear lest these poles will collapse during rain. Locals of Rourkela alleged that the main problem behind this issue is inadequate manpower of Wesco and its ‘complete ignorance’. These poles are hardly checked or repaired.
Residents in Gopabandhu Pali area have submitted complaints to the local office of Wesco. “In most areas water stagnates for many days especially during monsoon and that weakens the poles.
In many areas of Timber colony, electric poles are precariously perched. Here too, residents get panicky whenever there is a shower. Poles in several localities such as Chhend Colony, Delhi Market and Gopabandhu Pali have not been replaced for decades now.
Punit Goyal, a resident of Chhend, said poles in their area were so bad and damaged that iron rods were jutting out from them. “These weak poles are a huge hazard as the street bustles with traffic. What if they collapse on motorists? Though the authorities admit that these unstable structures pose a danger to passersby, not much has been done so far,” she said.
Wesco official who requested anonymity said “Poles are available but the demand is high. Besides, there is also financial and manpower constraint. Our section officers had the power to identify electrical faults in the locality and rectify them. New poles had been sanctioned and the old ones would be renovated in a few months.”
Keshab Panda, a social worker, said, “It would be better if the power cables are laid underground. They can use the latest technology to identify faults and then there will be no chance of cables snapping.”
After 10 people died due to electric shock near Berhampur, the authorities were supposed to be more serious of the situation here. There are poles in over 130 slums which have not been upgraded for 45 years. So much so that poles at Madhusudan Nagar and Bhavanipur Basti are on the verge to collapse. Are the discom authorities waiting for some accidents to happen first before they carry out repair or replace these poles, asked civilians of the city.