Dangling wires of cable TV and internet service providers tied to electric poles and lamp posts have emerged as a major threat to road-users and residents in the city.
Nearly every street has a mesh of cable wires. At least 15 customers are linked from each electric pole. The cables crisscross at many locations.
The Electricity Department has set guidelines and charges for cable TV operators, internet service providers and telecom companies to use electric posts. But there is no change on the ground. There have been several instances of electric posts having been brought down by the weight of the cables, causing power cuts.
According to D. Govindaraj, a resident of Gnanapragasam Nagar, “A goods carrier brushed against an electric post on the Gnanapragasam Main Road last week, bringing all the cables down. The incident occurred close to a transformer.”
“Though residents put the wires back up with the help of poles, it remains a safety issue. Repeated representations to the authorities have failed to yield a solution,” he said.
Residents say they are fed up with complaining about the problem. Though wires snapping because of rain and wind is not uncommon, a majority of accidents occur owing to the bunch of wires hanging precariously from the poles. In several areas at Kamaraj Nagar, the wires are within the reach of people.
According to an official of the Electricity Department, an electric pole may be used for stringing cables if only the maximum permissible weight of the supporting wire or cable does not exceed 200 grams per metre, and hanging and stringing does not exceed 50 metres in length, pole to pole.
The number of cables allowed to be strung between the poles is 10. However, the guidelines are flouted by cable TV operators and internet service providers.
For cable TV and broadband wires, the maximum charges are ₹2,000 for three months up to a maximum of the first 500 metres or the use of 10 electricity poles. For every subsequent metre, it is ₹3 every three months.
Gayathri Srikanth, founder of Iraivi, a women’s forum, pointed out that while the Electricity Department had been revising the power tariff every year, it was generous towards cable TV operators and internet providers.
“There have been a number of incidents in which consumers lost electronic goods after cable wires accidentally came into contact with high-tension power lines. Though the guidelines were issued in 2018 for stringing of cables, there has been no implementation on the ground. The Department has been unable to make the service providers construct a common duct for bunching of cables,” she said. The Hindu