Mumbai: Live wires pose a danger to lives in Aarey Colony

Locals have alleged that power lines in Aarey Colony are not maintained properly, leading to live wires falling on the ground, posing a risk to children playing beneath

For the past eight months, residents of Aarey Colony’s Unit 15 have been living in constant fear of electrocution, with overhead electric wires frequently falling to the ground. Not only are these wires live, but there are often people walking or children playing on the ground beneath. Locals have alleged that the overhead power lines are not maintained properly and it is a disaster waiting to happen unless steps are taken to rectify it.

Live wires have been falling from the power lines that pass over the rocky ground at Unit 15 in Aarey. Locals said the wires pose a danger to the children who play at the ground. Pics/Sameer Markande
Live wires have been falling from the power lines that pass over the rocky ground at Unit 15 in Aarey. Locals said the wires pose a danger to the children who play at the ground. Pics/Sameer Markande

According to locals, wires have been falling with alarming frequency. “In the last eight months, it has happened at least eight times. Earlier, whenever a wire would fall, the fuse would automatically switch off the power, but this doesn’t happen anymore. We want the authorities to take preventive steps, because many people walk in this area, and children also play on the ground beneath the power lines,” said Imran P, a local.

A power expert pointed out that it is less dangerous when live wires fall on soil or a tree, as it simply burns out, leaving a hole around it. However, if it falls on a rocky surface, like the ground at Unit 15, the wire remains live
A power expert pointed out that it is less dangerous when live wires fall on soil or a tree, as it simply burns out, leaving a hole around it. However, if it falls on a rocky surface, like the ground at Unit 15, the wire remains live

The area, Unit 15, is a rocky path surrounded by woods. Around 500 people reside in the 40-odd houses here. The 75-80 children who live here often go to play on the rocky ground over which the power lines pass. Around a month ago, a wire had fallen there and residents realised it was still live. A few months ago, another wire had fallen on a tree and charred it.

When the wires fall on a tree or soil, it is less dangerous, said locals. This is because the wire gets earthed. But when the wire falls on rocky ground, it remains live.

Locals also alleged that when this happens, the authorities often take hours to reach the spot and rectify the problem. Until then, people have to stand guard there and warn others about the live wire.

Residents have demanded that the authorities should check the power lines to see why wires are falling and why the power isn’t automatically cut off. In the long term, however, they want the overhead wires gone.

“We are not saying that the authorities are not doing any work, but our demand is that there should be a permanent solution to this problem. All the overhead electric wires should be put below the ground,” said another resident, Satish Lot.

An expert working at a well-known power distribution company said, “When a live wire falls down on a tree or earth it gets properly earthed. It gets discharged and we normally see a blackened hole in the ground around it, as a result. However, if it falls on a rocky surface, it will remain live, which is dangerous. In a safe system, the wire should be properly earthed, so the fuse can blow and interrupt power supply. This entire line should be inspected to see why this isn’t happening.”

Official speak
Aarey Colony CEO Gajanan Raut told mid-day, “I will ask the concerned officer to look into the matter and the problem will be solved at the earliest.”

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