JAMMU: Every year a large number of casual labourers, working with Power Development Department (PDD), suffer permanent disabilities or succumb to their grievous injuries while carrying out repair works on power transmission lines but when it comes to compensation or a helping hand from the State government these ‘unsung’ heroes end up staring at the dark future ahead.
Till date, the State government has not reviewed its compensation policy despite receiving numerous reminders and ultimatums from the aggrieved workers and their families.
On an average 15-20 persons lose their lives in a year while dealing with the live electric lines at the time of repairs or other works. Most of them are casual labourers and their families are not covered under SRO-43 benefits.
Irony is that the State Power Development Department has also failed to equip these labourers with safety tools while discharging their duties in grid stations, transmission lines located at high altitudes and while repairing breakdowns during adverse weather conditions.
These casual workers, standing tall with bare hands, sans safety tools, can be spotted anywhere during ongoing repair works but these safety kits, if purchased, remain locked inside the store rooms of sub divisions across the State.
Responding to the long pending demands of these casual workers for enhancing the compensation amount and allocating adequate money in case of permanent disability, the PDD was directed by the Governor’s administration to submit a fresh proposal before the State Advisory Committee for necessary revamp.
Ironically, several senior most officers have acknowledged the fact that these workers have been playing with their lives while at work but till date no corrective measures were announced
At present an amount of Rs 3 lakh is paid in case of any fatal mishap.
Governor’s office had sought fresh proposal from PDD to discuss the compensation issues in case of accidental death due to electrocution while repairing the electric lines. It was felt that the present compensation policy is adhoc as well as inadequate.
Accordingly, it was decided that the Power Development Department with the prior concurrence of the Finance Department will submit a proposal to the SAC for enhancement of compensation in such cases.
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