Two days after three children were charred to death in a Noida Power Company Limited (NPCL) sub-station in Greater Noida, the company’s CEO and other officials have been booked for culpable homicide. Rinku (13), Golu (8) and Sagar (8) had died when they came in contact with a high-voltage circuit-breaker while playing in Greater Noida’s Sector Phi 3 on Wednesday.
"An FIR under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) has been filed against eight people-CEO R C Agarwal and other officials, including engineers and managers. The allegation against the company is of negligence and we are investigating on the same lines. We are collecting evidence to further ascertain the role of the company," said Ajay Kumar, Station House Officer (Kasna).
The incident took place on Wednesday afternoon when the three children, who were reportedly playing near the sub-station, managed to enter the premises and came in contact with the high-voltage equipment. They were electrocuted almost instantaneously, police said. Police had on Wednesday claimed the shutter of the sub-station was partially open.
"We saw smoke rising out of the sub-station around 1 pm. We thought a fire had broken out inside the compound. We called the fire department, who told us the power company will look into the issue. By the time NPCL people arrived, word had gotten around that three children are missing. It was then that we realised the smoke was a result of them being electrocuted. Their skin had almost disappeared. We didn’t know how to react," said Vineet Kumar, who lives next to the sub-station.
The three children belonged to families of migrant labourers staying in the area and working on construction sites as daily wagers. Danveer, a relative of one of the children, claimed: "Right next to the sub-station, there is an open circuit with naked wires hanging out. The sub-station had no proper fencing and the room in which the circuit-breaker was kept had a partially open shutter. We have made calls to them in the past, but to no avail. They are blaming the children but the fact is that children won’t go if everything is closed off. They were only playing."
Sarnath Ganguly, general manager, NPCL, said: "The sub-stations are situated in areas of Greater Noida which have not been developed entirely. A lot of times, people break locks of the gates and break parts of fencing and take it with them. There are big signs that highlight the dangers of entering the place. Even the shutter outside the room had a warning message. Nonetheless, we will cooperate in the investigation. We are also continuously making visits and securing other such areas."