The managing director of Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) has written to Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike(BBMP) commissioner, asking the civic body to first evacuate and then demolish buildings constructed under extra high tension (EHT) lines in violation of norms in Gurappana Palya and Bovipalya areas of Madiwala, southeast Bengaluru. The move follows a spate of fatal electrical accidents in the city.
Although it’s unclear how many buildings in these areas are likely to be affected, there are an estimated 7,900 properties under EHT power lines across Bescom limits. Bescom officials said in case of violation of horizontal norms, the entire building would have to be demolished, while in case of vertical norms, the violating floors will have to be pulled down. However, BBMP is likely to act on its own against under-construction buildings and leave the decision on acting against the rest to the state government.
In the letter, Bescom has pointed out that the 66kV high tension lines were constructed more than 50 years ago in Bengaluru and that post their erection, many constructions have happened below them, in violation of rules and electrical safety norms.
“66kV EHT lines were constructed in the city more than 50 years ago and at that time, they were constructed as per norms. Since then, however, many constructions have come up right below these lines — which have led to a spate of accidents in the city when it rained. To avoid such untoward incidents, these unauthorized constructions and buildings in Bovipalya and Gurappana Palya must be evacuated and demolished to retain safe distance from high tension power lines,” it read.
Bescom MD C Shikha told TOI: “The BBMP had asked us to survey the two areas to find if they are in violation of electrical safety norms. Upon inspection, we found many constructions defied rules. We sent a letter to the BBMP, asking them to demolish these buildings. As per a joint survey conducted by Bescom, KPTCL (Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited) and BBMP, over 7,900 properties fall under EHT lines in Bescom limits. The consolidated list is being prepared and will be sent to the BBMP once compiled.”
Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun said the civic body will conduct a survey on Tuesday to find the total number of such existing as well as under-construction properties. All under-construction buildings violating norms within Bescom limits will be demolished, the mayor said.
“Many people have died recently after coming in contact with live wires and due to violation of vertical and horizontal distances that should be maintained from EHT lines. Bescom officials wrote to us in this regard. We held a meeting with BBMP officials and came to the conclusion that buildings coming under high tension wires present a dangerous situation. We also found that extra floors have been added to buildings, in violation of vertical height. We will therefore conduct a survey to identify such properties. While all under-construction buildings violating these norms will be demolished, for existing buildings with occupancy, we will submit the list of properties to the state government and let it decide,” the mayor said.
“Demolition of under-construction buildings, which are posing a grave threat to the public, will be taken up on priority,” she added.
Over 25 fatal electrical accidents have been recorded in the past three months alone, while in the past four years, at least 500 people have died and 350 have been injured, show data provided by Bescom.