People fear electrocution as monsoons submerge open wires.
The residents of Sanjay Gandhi Colony, Ludhiana, are in constant danger of being electrocuted. Wires and circuit boxes have lay bare and exposed to the monsoon rains since the past five years, posing a great threat to passersby.
In today’s video, Community Correspondent Jai Kumar exposes the terrible state of infrastructure in one of Ludhiana’s poorest areas. Sanjay Gandhi Colony comprises a thousand households, almost all of them earning an income below poverty line. A majority of the residents are labourers from Punjab and other states.
The Punjab State Electricity Board is in charge of supplying electricity to the colony. “As per the law, BPL households are entitled to 200 units of free electricity every month. No one here gets free electricity. Can’t the board ensure the residents’ basic safety at least?” asks Jai Kumar.
This monsoon, Rutvi Devi, a widow and the breadwinner of her family, got electrocuted while sweeping the ground. She has been bedridden since then, and does not foresee her health getting any better in the near future. Jai Kumar tells us that many of Rutvi’s neighbours have children who play in the streets during the day. “They are so worried about them that during the rains they refuse to let them play outside their houses.”
When asked if Rutvi’s family got any compensation from the government, he replied, “The family hasn’t bothered asking for compensation. They are poor and do not have a voice against authority. They don’t expect the government to listen to them.”
“While the prosperous parts of Ludhiana get constant and safe supply of electricity at all times of the day,” says Jai Kumar, “the poor are refused even basic infrastructure. They are asked to pay for electricity that they have not received, and pay for damages that they have not caused. Where can they get the money for this? It’s not possible.”
Madhukar Harmkar, a 60 year old daily wage worker from Maharashtra died by suicide after he could not support his family in times of Covid-19 lockdown.
Locals from Kupwara, Jammu and Kashmir were forced to scan their fingerprints for ration despite a suspension order from the government.