BBMP inspection team had been checking these poles and closing the open boxes with plastic and sealing them with cellophane tape.
Bangalore: Priyanka was in a hurry to get to her college. She was rushing towards the metro station, without paying attention to the wires coming out of the open junction. Suddenly she noticed the wire and quickly stepped aside. “It was a good thing I saw that the junction box was open. I could have touched it,” she said, slowing down momentarily before gaining pace again, toward the metro station.
These electric termination boxes are attached to streetlight poles and are used by electricians to repair the streetlight. However, when the boxes are not shut, they are a live threat to people walking by, especially during the rainy season.
Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials, however say that contractors who maintain the streetlights ought to be held responsible. Anand, Head of the Electric Department, BBMP said, “We do monthly inspection in different areas or zones. There are more than 52 contractors who are maintaining street lights and the termination boxes. In case of any incident it is the responsibility of the contractor concerned of the respective area or zone.”
He explained that most streetlight poles are connected to overhead wires, but some of them are connected to ground wires. Anand said that the BBMP inspection team had been checking these poles and closing the open boxes with plastic and sealing them with cellophane tape. Not just people, but animals, too, could be at risk, Anand said.
Most pedestrians do not notice these boxes. “We don’t pay attention to hanging wires or open electric junction boxes when we are late,” said Abhilash, a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) student from the Government Arts and Science college. He said, “People lean on streetlight poles while they are waiting to cross the road, it can be risky if the junction boxes are open.”
Abhinash Das, an electrical engineer said, “Electricians sometimes forget to close the termination box after fixing the problem. This could lead to electric explosions and will be dangerous for humans and animals if they come in contact with the live wire.”
Vikram Bhat, an expert in Urban Planning, said, “Electric termination boxes which are on streetlights should be above 5 feet from the ground. It should be located at a height where children can’t reach.” He added that it should be closed using a key and lock.
In a recent case in Whitefield, a girl and her mother died due to accidentally stepping on a live wire. Between 2015-2016 and 2022-23, 720 people have died from electrocution in Bangalore, according to a report by The Times of India.