Illegal power lines threaten lives

It has been reported in The Daily Star Bangladesh that a syndicate of corrupt contractors and employees of Power Development Board (PDB) in the Tangail district are engaged in setting up illegal electricity lines with unauthorised and low quality materials, risking people’s lives and potentially causing accidents.

The distribution lines and power transformers under the sub-stations are often out of order due to the added pressure. As a result, the consumers are receiving ghost bills, PDB sources said.

The Daily Star writes that an illegal line with 19 poles was recently set up from the source under Elenga 11KV feeder at Beri Potol in Kalihati Upazila.
High tension and low tension poles are standardly set up with 90-metre and 43-metre distances but both poles were placed at about double the distances. In addition, low quality, prone to snapping wires (D1) were used, PDB sources claimed.

Local sources stated that a member of the syndicate who is also an influential CBA leader’s close relative constructed the line after collecting a considerable amount of money from the villagers who would become residential consumers and users of shallow irrigation machines.

“On the 7th October, 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 comprised of contractors, PDB employees and brokers set up the illegal lines and then ‘legalised’ them through the channel of corrupt officials of PDB, sources said.

A few influential contractors in alliance with  some high officials of PDB got material provisions, including wires, poles, transformers and fittings intended for emergency repairs, and used the items to set up the illegal lines, the sources added.
Consequently, the consumers suffer the consequences when the transformers break as PDB cannot replace them immediately due to the shortage of relevant materials intended for that 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 parts of Tangail municipality under the Central Zone Power Distribution, PDB sources said.

However, on the 5th January 2013, the Tangail authorities submitted a petition to the PDB Chairman, alleging that JICA contractors were extending the lines to the remote areas outside the Tangail municipality, depriving the town residents in the south and west areas.

Source: The Daily Star

Image: Star