TRICHY: Electric poles being supplied to replace damaged ones in cyclone Gaja affected areas have found to be substandard and are breaking or developing cracks while erecting them, allege TNEB workers.
Workers climbing up these poles say that the poles pose danger to their lives as they develop cracks and even break during repair works.
Close to one lakh concrete poles have been brought from Andhra Pradesh to replace damaged electric poles in the cyclone affected areas. However, workers say that many of the sub-standard poles have developed cracks.
A 38-year-old contract worker with the electricity board fractured his spinal cord after falling from an electric pole which broke during repair works in Thirumakottai village in Mannargudi of Tiruvarur on Thursday.
A 30ft tall cement concrete pole, buried 5ft deep, broke from the bottom when, Senthil Kumar, who was climbing atop the pole, fell from a height of 20ft. He is undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Coimbatore.
“The accident could have been fatal for had Senthil not managed to land in a safe spot while ensuring that the pole does not fall on him,” said a worker who witnessed the accident. The worker said that poor quality of steel has been used in the pole besides, improper concrete mixture.
“The concrete should be kept moist and the poles should be kept for curing for at least 3 months to avoid cracks, but the dates on the poles show that they are less than 2 months old,” said another EB worker attached to CITU trade union.
Professor of civil engineering department from NIT-Trichy C Natarajan said that M30 concrete mix ratio should be used in such poles to provide it strength which may not last longer otherwise. “Besides this, a lot depends on the curing time, quality of water and metal used during production,” he said.
Tangedco distribution director M A Helen said only one such incident has been recorded in Mannargudi.