Illegal power lines threaten lives, cause revenue loss
"> Illegal electric connections with unauthorised and low quality materials run from Elenga 11KV feeder at Beri Potol in Kalihati upazila under Tangail district, adding to the load and posing risk of accidents. PHOTO: STARA syndicate of dishonest contractors and employees of Power Development Board (PDB) in the district are engaged in setting up illegal electricity lines with unauthorised and low quality materials, raising the risk of accidents and adding to the system losses.
Due to extra pressure, the distribution lines and power transformers under the sub-stations often get out of order and the office sends ghost bills to the consumers, PDB sources said.
An illegal line with 19 poles was recently set up from the source under Elenga 11KV feeder at Beri Potol in Kalihati upazila.
As per standard, high tension and low tension poles are to be set up after 90-metre and 43-metre distances but both the poles were placed at about double the distances.
Besides, low quality wires (D1) were used, making them vulnerable to snapping and accident even in slight wind, PDB sources said.
Local sources said, a member of the syndicate, also a close relative of an influential CBA leader constructed the line after taking a good amount of money from the villagers who would become consumers as residential users and for shallow irrigation machines.
"On October 7, we disconnected the illegal line set up with unauthorised and low quality materials. We also lodged an FIR with Kalihati Model Police Station to identify the culprits and take legal action against them,” said Shahadat Ali, executive engineer (Sales and Distribution-1) of Tangail PDB.
A syndicate comprising a section of contractors, PDB employees and brokers set up illegal lines and then 'legalise' those with the help of a section of corrupt officials of PDB, sources said.
A few influential contractors having good relation with some high officials of PDB got allocation of materials including wires, poles, transformers and fittings meant for emergency works, and used the items to set up the illegal lines, they said.
Consequently, consumers suffer when transformers are burnt as the PDB cannot replace them immediately due to shortage of relevant accessories for the purpose.
Meanwhile, a project financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is being implemented for reformation, extension and modernisation of lines and transformers at different wards of Tangail municipality under the Central Zone Power Distribution, PDB sources said.
But on January 5, Tangail municipality authorities submitted a petition to the PDB Chairman, alleging that the contractors of the work meant for the municipal areas were extending the lines to remote areas outside, depriving the town dwellers in south and western areas.