Low-hanging electric lines in flooded areas pose life risk | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 10, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:20 AM, August 10, 2020

Low-hanging electric lines in flooded areas pose life risk

Eight people, moving on boats, electrocuted in Tangail in two weeks

The power lines hanging dangerously low over the waterbodies and now flooded places in Tangail have turned into death traps.

Eight people met tragic death in the last two weeks after coming in contact with electric wires while moving on boats.

Three of the five incidents took place in Basail and six of the victims are from the upazila.

Two other incidents took place in Sadar and Mirzapur upazilas.

On Friday afternoon, Shipon Sarkar, 35, of Purbopara village in Basail municipal area died when he came in contact with an electric wire while taking an engine-run boat to the area.

On July 31, a day before the Eid ul Azha, a boatman was electrocuted while steering a passenger carrying boat under an electricity line of Rural Electrification Board (REB) at Gilabari in Basail and the boat capsized.

Fire service divers later recovered the body of the boatman Tayej Uddin, 40, and four passengers, Jamela, 60, his son Hamidur Rahman Ron, 35, Shah Alam, 25, and Ruby, 23, from the water.

"All the victims were electrocuted. The electric wire was just four feet above the water. As people use boats through the place, the REB authorities should have removed the line or cut off the power supply in view of the danger," said Shafiqul Islam, senior station officer at Tangail Fire Service and Civil Defence, who led the rescue team.

Earlier on July 26, Jihad Khan, 14, a sixth grader of Fulki Fazil Madrasa, was going to a local market by a boat at Fulki in Basail upazila. He died on the spot after coming in contact with an electric wire hanging very low.

At the night on the same day, Mohammad Sufian, 45, of Bamanpara village in Sadar upazila was electrocuted in a similar way when he was traveling in a boat on floodwater.

​Meanwhile, Balaram Rajbangshi, 22, a second-year honours student of Mirzapur

Government College, died after being electrocuted while operating a boat at Bahuria in Mirzapur upazila on July 23.

Mahmud Hasan, a teacher of a secondary school in Basail, said the power lines of REB, drawn through low-lying rural areas including Fulki, Bathuli and Deuli in Basail, remain in precarious conditions. But the authorities have not taken any action in this regard.

Asked about these, Ram Shankar, general manager of Tangail Palli Bidyut Samiti-1, told The Daily Star, "The problem is more serious in flood-hit Basail upazila, which has numerous water bodies.

"Since the beginning of the floods, we conducted awareness campaigns including announcement   through loudspeakers, pasting posters and distribution of leaflets. Warning signs with red clothes have also been hung. Even then, accidents have occurred due to lack of precaution by the people concerned," he said.

"During 90s, electricity lines were drawn through empty spaces in the district. Later, numerous houses have been built around the lines. We have already started replacing electricity poles from risky places," he said.

There are also Power Development Board's (PDB) lines in many flood-prone areas of the district.

Power lines in many areas, drawn very low with bamboo poles over the crop fields during the irrigation season, remain in a dangerous condition, locals said, adding that often these lines are given illegally in exchange of bribes.

Contacted, Tofazzal Hossain Pramanik, superintending engineer of Tangail PDB, said, "Power supply in many areas has been temporarily suspended due to the floods. Temporary power connections provided during the irrigation season have already been cut. No deaths were reported due to the PDB lines during the floods."

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