Playing with lives

Published at August 09, 2017 03:12 AM 0Comment(s)12147views

Playing with lives

In March this year when the 38 years old PDD labourer, Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat, died in a bizarre incident of electrocution with his body hanging from an electric pole, it raised many questions on the safety of workers employed by the department on need basis. Even before that, in the month of January, Abdul Salam Bhat of Bugroo village in Budgam district was electrocuted and died while being shifted to hospital. Last month in Baramulla, PDD worker Fareed Ahmad Khan died of electrocution while repairing a damaged transformer. Couple of weeks later another employee, Mushtaq Ahmad Lone, working as a lineman died of electrocution and burns in Lolab’s Diver village. The death of Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat shocked everyone because of the frightful picture that exposed the glaring errors by the PDD officials. The workers engaged on ad hoc basis (daily rated) have been found working on live wires that include high tension 11 KV lines besides the distribution transformers. While the State Human Rights Commission demanded detailed report from the PDD Chief Engineer (CE), Shahnaz Goni, on the incident, the CE assured that action will be taken against the officials responsible. A report published in this newspaper Monday, titled “PDD workers continue to flirt with danger”, has captured well the important details about safety while handling the power distribution network. Unfortunately, it presents a bleak picture, as the headline suggests, with the workers continuing to play with fire. The report reveals that 53 workers had died in different incidents and hundreds other injured in the last two years. There are two aspects that need to be looked into while taking stock of the situation. One is the general negligence of the staff, officials or other workers that cause the unfortunate incidents to happen repeatedly. The other aspect is the poor safety standards adopted and put to use by the field workers. As the report reveals, the workers have to work without proper gloves, insulation and necessary safety kits. The workers blame the department for not providing the needed equipment. While the negligence of the officials responsible in one particular case like that of Mushtaq may be looked into, the PDD has failed to acknowledge the hazardous conditions in which the ad hoc workers have to perform. The workers that represent the lowest rung have no choice but to work with whatever is available, which eventually results in fatal incidents. PDD should pull up its socks and properly deal with the situation. All needed safety equipments should be provided and the government must ensure it and not just brag about thousands of crores rupees development initiatives.                   



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