Fani Restoration: Death of lineman sparks protest in Puri

Puri: At a time when restoration work is going on a war footing to repair the entire power infrastructure in Puri district devastated in the cyclone, a staffer of the Electricity department died on duty after being electrocuted while repairing a transformer near Sadar police station area in the pilgrim town.

Raising concerns over his death, other staff have staged a protest outside the post mortem department of Puri hospital alleging that the deceased was forcefully engaged in power restoration work.

All the employees of the electricity department are working round the clock to restore power supply and repair the damage caused by cyclone Fani. While repairing a transformer, one Pabitra Jena, identified to be a lineman, was reportedly electrocuted last night near Puri Sadar Police Station.

The employees, on the other hand, have alleged that Jena was forcibly put on duty at the transformer.

“While we should be working till 6 PM, the Junior Electrical Engineer (JEE) forced us to work till 11 PM to provide power supply to all VIP areas. He (JEE) also claimed that the line was dead but while repairing the transformer the line got charged and Jena was electrocuted,” alleged a lineman from Puri.

Another eyewitness, Bibhu Parida said,” He was the only man who was ready to work and so he climbed the ladder. All of a sudden there was a spark and he was electrocuted. We tried to call ambulance but as it unavailable, he was taken to the hospital in a police vehicle.”

Earlier, another lineman N Mangaraj Rao had lost his life after falling off from a ladder while restoring power.

While such deaths have brewed the resentment among linemen in the district, sources claimed that the Electricity department has called for a meeting to resolve the issue.