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Hazardous transformers

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Caught between emptying his full bladder and avoiding the gaze of passersby, a 45-yearold construction worker suffered burn injuries after an electric shock on Vittal Mallya Road and is still fighting for life in Victoria Hospital.

Police said there was a safety fencing around the transformer but was recently removed during the road widening work. They said that the man ought to have maintained a safe distance from the transformer.
For the full report that appeared in the New Indian Express, click here

The questions that arise are
1) Only if a person comes in contact with the terminals/ wires of a live transformer should he get a shock (merely coming in contact with the body of the transformer should not cause it). And, since transformer installations are required to ensure that these (terminals/ wires) are far beyond a man's reach from the ground level, how come this man received a shock? The obvious answer is that there was a current leakage, meaning that the installation was hazardous, and the safety devices should have acted to isolate it, till such time as the fault was detected and repaired. And, this did not happen!

There is a body called the 'Karnataka Electrical Inspectorate' which is required to inspect all transformer installations, including those of BESCOM, periodically, according to set parameters, to ensure that the safety devices work when faults develop. Whereas, in the case of transformer installations other than those belonging to BESCOM, the Electrical Inspectorate goes about making annual inspections fairly systematically (subject of course to the vagaries of a government agency's functioning), in the case of BESCOM installations, they are obviously not bothering with it. The reason perhaps is their both being government agencies, and therewith providing another good reason (if the many listed here are not enough) why the government should not be playing the role of the service provider and regulator simultaneously. Enough such accidents have happened in Bangalore in the recent past. Should we wait for more before the government is made to wake up to such practical solutions?

2) How does one 'maintain a safe distance from a transformer' (as the police likes to advice) when it is there right in the middle of your foot-path?

3) Why aren't there enough well-maintained public toilets? Many 'Nirmala' toilets, courtesy the Infosys Foundation, were installed all over the city. But, their maintenance has been far from satisfactory. Besides, whereas toilets should remain open till late into the night after opening early in the morning, the BBMP possibly mans it on a single-shift basis, resulting in their remaining locked when they are most required. Can't the BBMP do a simple thing like handing over the maintenance to a local eatery for an attractive concession in property tax, and thereafter only engaging in regular inspections? 

Muralidhar Rao
 

Comments

RameshBlr's picture

if you have noticed the new

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if you have noticed the new sigle pole transformers have no protection grill etc whatsoever and are of course as mentioned never subject to any sort of scrutiny until it blows... of late BESCOM has started wha t they call using aerial bunched cables [ case in point is near ganesh temple Koramangala on the main road where the poles have been shifted.and terminating the same on the top insulators of the single pole and the rest of the distrobution being dome by underground cable. As MR says the old zoo cages are still a hazard any one has to contend with..

Devesh's picture

Public urination - demand less, pay less

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We are quick to point out faults with the government, and yes, many of them are deserving.

However this statement does not jive. "Why aren't there enough well-maintained public toilets?" 

If Murali goes to the contractor and checks the permissions issued, one of the key requirements is for the contractor/builder/site owner to provide for a toilet for the workers.

Why was the construction worker emptying his bladder in a public area ? Who is questioning the contractor or builder for his lack of providing toilets.

Why have we not made an issue of the public nuisance, smell, and disease by this act of public defecation or urination ? To top it off, this construction worker has the audacity to demand the government pay for his medical expenses!!!!

For anything and everything we expect the government to do. Have we become parasites with no means of self sustenance? No wonder our taxes are stratospherically high. We have all these expectations of a nanny state and the government milks our expectations.

Demand less and then demand to pay less.

 

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Regards
Devesh
Bangalore Aviation
Enjoy life, destroy FUD
Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

'Ye naayee, illi mootra beda' words painted in Rajajinagara

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Transliteration: Hey dog, do not urinate here. 

The above words of wisdom written by me in red paint in Kannada, on the stone wall of KLE International School building in II Block, Rajajinagara, Bengaluru  are available for all Prajas to see even today.  The pissing spot is located just outside the compound wall of KLE College of Information Technology and a hi-tech library block.

It is disgusting to see a few children from upper floor class rooms watching out of the window the irresponsible act of uncivilised people who want to clear their bladders, even though a free urinal is available just about 50 meters away. 

I have vehemently objected, screamed at the pissers and also at the children from my balcony and got some stones thrown at me also.

I had placed a deadly looking various God's photos to scare those who wanted to unzip, but to no avail.   Held discussions with the college authorities to post a security but to no avail. They said it is next to impossible to stop people misusing the high wall meant to keep their property safe.   Held discussions with the health authorities but unfortunately their head full of cow dung ended in their placing a huge garbage bin adding to the problem. 

Still many b.....s unzip and does it while reading it.  

Overheard:

Question by a concerned citizen: Hey, can't you read what is written on the wall?

Pisser: Yes, I can read.... it is meant for dogs and not to me.

Latest media report is that a lady in Indiranagar has been throwing stones at such pissers right in front of her house because the stink had become unbearable  Source: Bangalore Mirror

- Vasanth Mysoremath

 

idontspam's picture

abuse vs negligence

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 Why have we not made an issue of the public nuisance, smell, and disease by this act of public defecation or urination ?

This is an abuse which needs to be tackled. This and littering needs to be punished severely else we will remain a dirty society

To top it off, this construction worker has the audacity to demand the government pay for his medical expenses

This is a totally different issue. The person recieved a shock not because of the act of passing urine but because of being in a place which was supposed to be barricaded because it was not safe. The negligence is on that front. It is the same negligence that allows people to be washed away into drains which are supposed to be barricaded. It is the same negligence which allows people to fall into open manhole, trip over uneven sidewalks or get hurt in construction zones. 

If I were eating when I tripped over an uneven sidewalk is it my fault for eating while walking or is it negligence due to bad sidewalk stones? If I were eating and the sidewalk was not uneven I may not have fallen and even if I did I wouldnt have anybody to blame but myself. Where does the attribution lie? In this case the city has the right to fine the man for urinating and causing nuisance according to the law while he has the right to sue for negligence causing him bodily harm.

Let us seperate the negligence from the abuse. Both are equally bad for the city.

rs's picture

Build fences, not walls

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Hi

With the risk of sounding insensitive I guess I will say that I have always been of the opinion that people should build fences and hedges, not walls, to demarcate their property. There are several benefits in doing so. The first is that it is a lot more aesthetic - a fence covered with greenery is a lot more pleasant to look at  than a bare wall. The second, which is of relevance to this thread, is that people can urinate on it with abandon - in many instances it would almost be good for someone to urinate on it.

Another possible solution is to have a green belt along the footpaths which can be used for such purposes - and mother nature will take care of it.

I have long ago given up the hope that one can expect to teach people not to urinate in public - there is basically not enough infrastructure for that and  even if public toilets are built, our culture is such that they will be filthy and  unusable within a short time - apparently it is always someone elses job to clean the toilets and I suppose in the dominant culture there is a stigma associated with the cleaning of toilets, so it never gets done. I dont know if any of you have tried to use the Nirmala toilets provided by Infosys. While the person at the counter happily collects the money most of the toilets I have tried to use are absolutely filthy with dirty sinks where either water is constantly running or doesnt run at all. Of course ones instinct is to get out of there and nobody really bothers to complain about the situation - in any case its not clear if there is any forum for having such things addressed.

Ramesh

Devesh's picture

IDS - You are responsible for your acts

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If I were eating when I tripped over an uneven sidewalk is it my fault for eating while walking or is it negligence due to bad sidewalk stones?

You are peforming a legal act in an irresponsible manner. It the same as the people who eat or apply make-up while driving their car to work. Something not so common in India, but very common in the US and Europe.

Admittedly the sidewalk is uneven, but eating distracts you and makes you more prone to an incident. By your standard, usage of cell phone while driving is okay which we all know is not.

Coming back to the uneven sidewalk, you have a legitimate claim to a good sidewalk as a citizen who has paid for it or if you were walking and focussed. As an irresponsible user sorry, live by the results of your actions. You cannot hold a knife manufacturer responsible for a stabbing. In today's paper there was a report of a scooterist who fell in to an unmarked ditch dug by the BWSSB. I say take the board to court and make them pay. Setting a precedent is a victory for all citizens.

The claim of the construction worker should be on his employer who by failing to provide the needed toilet facilities forced the worker to urinate in a hazardous area. That raises another question. Why did the worker not urinate in the construction site itself ? Becuase he works there. So better to piss on someone else eh ?

This case reminds me of the theif who got electrocuted while breaking in to a person's home. His estate sued the home owner for thief's wrongful death. What a joke.

Ultimately, as a nation we are becoming parasites. If we succeed it is due to us. If we fail it is due to someone else. We just do not know how to take responsibility and ownership for our actions. It is all CYA.

Devesh

 

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Regards
Devesh
Bangalore Aviation
Enjoy life, destroy FUD
idontspam's picture

irresponsibility

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You are peforming a legal act in an irresponsible manner.

Eating while walking is not defined as illegal or pubishable by law. 

Coming back to the uneven sidewalk, you have a legitimate claim to a good sidewalk as a citizen who has paid for it or if you were walking and focussed

Exactly and this is the equivelant of negligence claim the worker has made. So I dont see any issues in suing for negligence.

 By your standard, usage of cell phone while driving is okay which we all know is not.

If I was on a cellphone while the car I was driving met with an accident because of faulty brakes. I can sue the manufacturer for the faulty brakes while the authorities can sue me for breach of laws. If it was found that the existance of a working brake would have prevented the accident then the manufacturer is clearly responsible not the cellphone talking. 

 

murali772's picture

kyaa baath kar rahein hein aap?

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Deveshbhai

Who is questioning the contractor or builder for his lack of providing toilets?

Yes, indeed! Isn't that the job of the BBMP? Why aren't they doing it? And, like I had mentioned earlier, how about BBMP's own dereliction of duty with regard to the maintenance and proper running of the existing toilets?

Why have we not made an issue of the public nuisance, smell, and disease by this act of public defecation or urination ?

Yes, indeed, once again! And, why haven't you done it either, even with being in the position of the infrastructure committee chairman of a powerful industry organisation?

To top it off, this construction worker has the audacity to demand the government pay for his medical expenses!!!!

Not just medical expenses; he would be entitled to a huge compensation, if the matter does go to court. As IDS has pointed out, between the BESCOM and BBMP, they are both culpable. Your reaction is indeed shocking, to say the least.

For anything and everything we expect the government to do. Have we become parasites with no means of self sustenance? No wonder our taxes are stratospherically high. We have all these expectations of a nanny state and the government milks our expectations. Demand less and then demand to pay less.

You want to point out that to me, of all the people??? Am I not the one who has been asking the government to step out of every activity where they don't need to be?

Muralidhar Rao

 

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

Tresspassing needs to be proved

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This case reminds me of the theif who got electrocuted while breaking in to a person's home. His estate sued the home owner for thief's wrongful death. 

This is a case where the boundry of tresspassing was clearly defined by the home owners compound. By crossing it the thief has become a violator and the homeowners are not liable for the life and limb.

In "urinegate", if BESCOM had demarcated the boundary by even a signboard or painted boundary indicating the clearance one should keep from the transformer, then the tresspassing can be proved. There was no warning or indication to the labourer that he was tresspassing and was getting into dangerous territory and that is negligence

Here is where I am going. We have the habit of giving generic warnings like drive slow, keep safe distance, dont go near transformers etc etc instead of being clear in communication and put sign boards. Each type of transformer may have different clearance distance just like different type of street can have a different speed limit. It is like the vague no parking sign. I cant run around with a tape measuring 100 meters on either side. Why dont we clearly indicate on the sidewalk where we can and can not stop? Its like lane marking, when 3 lanes become 2 it is so abrupt we end up scrambling at the end instead of making a graceful merge. Lot of bad practices in the town planning and we are expected to take the quality of work in our stride without complaining. WHY?

Devesh's picture

You are peforming a legal act

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You are peforming a legal act in an irresponsible manner.

Eating while walking is not defined as illegal or pubishable by law.

IDS, I think you need to READ what I wrote, not what you think I wrote. ;)

There is a difference between illegal and irresponsible. I am sure you have heard of contributory negligence. :)

 

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Regards
Devesh
Bangalore Aviation
Enjoy life, destroy FUD
Devesh's picture

Don't get personal

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Yes, indeed, once again! And, why haven't you done it either, even with being in the position of the infrastructure committee chairman of a powerful industry organisation?

Murali, I raised a general question as a citizen of this city, not in any other capacity.

I never questioned YOU directly, and I would appreciate if you did not get personal. You have no concrete idea what I have or have not done and it is incorrect of you to presume and pre-judge. Also FYI, I take action in the organisational capacity for the benefit of the members of that organisation.

As a citizen you have the right to question the BBMP on why did they not perform their duty in ensuring that a toilet for workers was provided, but you have chosen to abdicate that right and are questioning every government authority on everything else other than this aspect.

I know I am breaking a Praja rule, but lets face it -- talk is cheap. Has anyone filed an RTI with ANY of the organisations you mentioned. It is this action that will keep these departments on their toes, not our banter here. Time to get off our keyboards and do something.

 

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Regards
Devesh
Bangalore Aviation
Enjoy life, destroy FUD
idontspam's picture

Comparitive negligence

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 I am sure you have heard of contributory negligence.

And I am sure you have heard of comparitive negligence :) BTW tort is not codified in India.

murali772's picture

main issue ignored

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Deveshbhai - When you respond to certain points raised by me, and also refer to me by name, that's not being personal! But, when I respond to you directly, that becomes personal! I don't quite get the logic.

In this talk of getting personal, the main issue of the responsibility and culpability of the BESCOM, BBMP duo has unfortunately got side-lined.

Also, we in PRAJA are not claiming to be any revolutionaries. All we are doing is facilitating open debate on civic and such issues in the hope and expectation that something will result out of that itself. Meaningful contribution to a debate can be fairly effective in itself. If anyone feels more strongly about a specific issue and wants to pursue action on the ground, he is encouraged to do it with others lending support.

There was once this saying - 'Pen is mightier than the sword'. In today's world, perhaps it can be said that 'the keyboard can be as effective as say street demonstrations'.  
 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

brazen violation

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I couldn't help but notice this transformer installation on 1st main (west wing), S T Bed layout, Koramangala. It's in obvious and brazen violation of every rule in the book, as well as outside it ( A consultant I talked to informs me that the minimum clearance, from the outermost point on the transformer, on all sides should be 750mm). The transformer doesn't appear to be energised, yet. Hopefully, the Inspectorate has held back the permit. But, the very fact that that the builder has even ventured to install it this way, speaks volumes about the Inspectorate's ways. And, this isn't exactly an isolated case. There are plenty I notice on a daily basis. Apparently, no Carlton, no Uphaar (Delhi) can change the ways of the builders and the Inspectorate.

 

Muralidhar Rao

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