She can be seen walking carefully, trying to avoid the large puddle on the road. But a short walk near her home in Pulianthope turned out to be fatal for 35-year-old Alima. The woman, a resident of Periyar Nagar in Pulianthope in Chennai, stepped on a live wire that had snapped. She was electrocuted to death on the spot.
Alima’s death on Monday was captured on a CCTV camera, and the visuals have sent shockwaves across the city. The video shows Alima walking on a platform to avoid motorists and the puddle. She then bends down to pick something up. As soon as she straightens, she steps on the snapped wire and collapses. Many parts of the city have witnessed water logging due to rains in Chennai since Sunday.
The residents of the area say that they had given multiple complaints to the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board to repair the snapped wire but no action was taken. A resident said, “The wire snapped 25 days ago and the electricity was passing through the water. The EB is simply telling us to call other departments. There are 16 members in our apartment and even a small child got an electric shock recently.”
Alima, who was walking as usual to her workplace, has become a victim of official apathy, residents allege. They also claim that even her death was taken lightly by authorities.
“We called the department and told them that a lady succumbed due to an electric shock and there was no proper response from there. Even the ambulance arrived only two hours later,” a resident said.
Another resident meanwhile alleged that she had made three calls to the department asking them to turn off the main supply, as there was a chance that Alima was still alive.
“I called thrice, there was no response,” she told the media.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) of Pulianthope Prakashkumar told TNM, “We have received information that the woman died of electrocution. However, the actual reason for the death can be ascertained only after the post-mortem report. We have booked the case under Section 174 (Inquiry into unnatural death).”
A former employee of Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Nagaswamy told the media, “This is sad news and there is a responsibility to safeguard the people. There are guidelines for laying underground cable wires. If the lines are getting snapped easily, then it means that there was carelessness. A slab should be placed before laying the lines, so there is also lack of monitoring from the side of contractors.”