Thousand-plus deaths due to electric shock in Bangalore, BESCOM jumps to ‘awareness’ mode

Ralph Alex Arakal
Bengaluru mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun inspects the spot at Mathikere where the deceased was electrocuted. Express Photo

While citizens in Bangalore face issues with dangling cables all around, the number of deaths caused to this carelessness suggests the issue is of prime importance. Be it optical fibre cables or live electric wires, recent incidents generate fear and panic among pedestrians and others alike.

Shockingly, electrocution has been the prime reason behind more than a thousand lives in the city since 2015. According to Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd. (BESCOM), as many as 1,055 deaths have been recorded due to electric shocks in the last five years.

It can be recalled that Nikhil, a 14-year-old boy succumbed to burn injuries on May 20 after being electrocuted by a live high-tension wire on May 16 in his neighbourhood. The boy who was enjoying his summer holidays suffered from fatal burns when he touched a live wire dangling onto the terrace of a neighbour’s house where he went to fetch a cricket ball. The incident took place near Netaji Circle in Mathikere.

Nikhil, the 14-year-old who succumbed to burns at Victoria Hospital on May 20. Express Photo/Special Arrangement

BESCOM data further indicates that 14 other deaths have taken place other than this already this year. While 283 deaths took place in 2015-16, the same was 235 for 2016-17. The death toll raised to 239 and then to 283 in 2017-18 and 2018-19 respectively. However, BESCOM states that 367 of these in total occurred due to the victim’s fault.

Dangling live wires at the spot near Mathikere where the victim got electrocuted. Express Photo

When contacted BESCOM, an official from the quality standards and safety section said that it has been decided to begin special awareness programmes in schools to ensure their safety. "Apart from reaching out to school students, we will also raise awareness among parents and other adults. While customer interaction meetings at residential localities will be held more frequently, special classes for children including how to be alert in case of coming across junction boxes, electric poles or other wires will also be held," the official says.

BESCOM officials add that social media campaigns will also be held periodically to create awareness among citizens of all ages.