Apathy and incompetence by authorities has wreaked havoc among dwellers of more than 30 apartments in a greater Bengaluru locality.
While 14 families, living in Kapila Apartments in Owners Court Layout in Kasavanahalli,
Had multiple electrical appliances, including their water purifier, damaged due to extraordinary high voltage after a couple of days without power, one apartment actually caught on fire as a result.
Fortunately, the owners were out of town and on returning on Saturday morning they found their home to be filled with dark smoke and many of their belongings charred.
Harisha NP, owner of the G7 flat which was burned, told TNM that for the moment he wants Bescom to restore the wiring in his place so that he can ascertain the full damage. The family of three, which includes Harisha, his wife and their child, had gone to Hubli for the weekend and were shocked to open their home and find it filled with smoke. Now they have been forced to stay outside their home.
â€śYesterday I had stayed at a friendâ€™s place. For the next seven days I have managed to find a place to stay in the same apartment building. We are expecting the police to begin investigation tomorrow and find out what has caused the issue and we are expecting them give justice to us,â€ť Harsiha NP told TNM.
Further worsening the situation, rather than acknowledging their mistake, Bangalore Electricity Supply Corporation has washed their hands off the matter and blamed the apartment infrastructure.
The series of events leading to the mishap starting from July 22, when Bren Edgewaters (an ongoing real estate project) started digging a road to lay 11KV line for more than a kilometre.
The ordeal did not end there as the Bellandur Police Station was reluctant to accept a complaint. The disgruntled residents had to persuade Deputy Commissioner of Police Abdul Ahad to register an FIR after waiting at the police station for hours. An FIR against Bescom and Bren was registered late on Sunday afternoon.
â€śWe are victims and from the victimsâ€™ side we want justice. We want to know who is responsible for this. We have been staying here for the past four and a half years and nothing like this happened. The surge was so high that stabilizers and spike busters melted. How can Bescom say our lines are faulty when as soon as they fixed the wire the issue was resolved? They know that on that night they did something wrong but they are not accepting it,â€ť Prashant, President of Kapila Apartments Association, said.
He further added, â€śWho would know that if at that time the apartment was occupied there would have been no loss of life,â€ť demanding a thorough investigation.
Residents of the locality are of the opinion that lack of regulation by the BBMP, Bescom and their light handedness over Bren matters is responsible for the tragedy.
â€śWhile BBMP Marathahalli had given approval for digging on the footpath, Bren dug through the middle of the road without following mandated norms which had caused the damage,â€ť Sudarshan, a resident of the locality, said.
Another resident-activist alleged multiple irregularities on part of Bern in collusion with the BBMP and Bescom.
The situation had started on Monday July 23 when low voltage and partial power supply in the apartment complex was observed and the same was reported to the Bescom, but to no avail. The first response came only after the apartment association managed to call the Assistant Engineer themselves on Tuesday evening around 5pm.
Four hours later, a team of Bescom officials arrived at the apartment but could not find the faulty cables and asked for time as a road had to be dug. The road digging begun no sooner than 7:00 am on Thursday and by 6 pm the residents sought a temporary connection as all the flat dwellers had lived without power since Wednesday evening.
It was finally at 9pm on Thursday night that Bescom could diagnose the fault and identify the particular cable and four hours later by 1:00 am on Friday, the permanent line was restored.
But there was high voltage and power had gone again and around 7:00 am residents noticed high voltage issue yet again. Bescom was approached one more time and before afternoon, the connection was fixed by Bescom by changing the wire sequence.
But by that time, the damage has been done. The residents realized that many of their appliances like refrigerator, water purifiers, stabilizers, bulbs, chimney, geyser, and TVs were damaged.