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TN tribal hamlet deprived of power after Tangedco insists payment from forest dept

- May 29, 2022

Chennai, May 29 (BPNS)

The Erumaiparai tribal hamlet in Anamalai Tiger Reserve is deprived of power connection and people are still in the dark while night sets in the settlement. The Tamil Nadu forest department has submitted applications to the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution (Tangedco) company for providing power to the tribal hamlet. The project has hit a roadblock after Tangedco demanded a payment of Rs 6 lakh extra for insulated power lines.

A senior official of the Anamalai Tiger Reserve while speaking to IANS said,” The ATR had given a proposal to the Tangedco for providing power connection to 34 houses in Erumaiparai tribal hamlet. However, Tangedco is demanding 6 lakh rupees extra for insulated cable wires and the project has hit a roadblock. This means we are depriving the most marginalized people of the society with power connection and are leaving them in the dark”.

K. Murugadasan, member of the eco-development committee of ATR said, “Each family has deposited Rs 3500 rupees for electricity connections six months ago. However, there is no information on the power connection and during rainy season solar panels don’t work and our children are forced to study under the light of kerosene lamps.”

According to guidelines of the Supreme court, the Standing committee of National board for wildlife, and the Union environment ministry, power transmission lines with insulated cables or underground cables in protected areas to safeguard wildlife. It may be noted that several elephants have died due to electrocution.

Forest officials told IANS that the ATR officials have requested the Superintendent Engineer in Udumalpet to use insulated cables for Erumaiparai tribal hamlet. However, forest department officials told IANS that Tangedco had informed that only overhead cables with suitable guarding arrangements can be provided.

Tangedco has informed that to use insulated cables Rs 6 lakh has to be paid by the forest department and that the electricity department will immediately provide connection if the difference money is paid.

It may be noted that several elephants had died due to electrocution by touching sagging overhead power transmission lines. ATR has requested Tangedco for a joint inspection on the sagging transmission cables and to rectify it so that wild elephants do not touch the line and get electrocuted.