Did Bescom take BBMP nod to install transformers on footpaths, asks HC
Not possible to remove all transformers from footpaths as they are essential, claims Bescom
The High Court of Karnataka on Friday directed the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd. (Bescom) to clarify whether it had taken permission from the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to install electricity transformers on footpaths across the city.
Also, the court told the BBMP to take a clear stand on transformers installed on footpaths as the High Court, in a PIL petition, had directed the BBMP to keep the footpaths free for pedestrian movements and clean as the law vests right and obligation on footpaths with the BBMP.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum issued the directions while hearing a PIL petition filed by Wing Commander G.B. Athri (retd). The petitioner had complained that authorities had failed to remove and relocate transformers and other electrical installations from footpaths and roadside drains.
The Bescom, in its response to the petition has stated that are 8,659 distribution transformer centres located on footpaths, road, etc in the city and out this 4,035 transformers were found causing hindrance to public. Already, 3,196 such transfers were replaced with single-pole transformers to ensure safety of public and to reduce footprint of transformers on footpaths.
The Bench also directed Bescom to explain whether any opinion from experts were taken prior to installing transformer at a seven feet height in a spun pole to ensure safety of public.
Denying the allegation that Bescom has encroached upon footpaths and storm-water drains, it has claimed that Bescom erected transformers as per the provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003 and the Telegraph Act, 1885.
“Bescom is taking all measures to prevent any type of accidents or hazard due to electrical and transformers on the footpath and roads, including changing the distribution transformer centres and laying the cables underground in phased manner. Therefore, though there are risks associated with erection of transformers on footpaths, same are essential and cannot be removed as there is no other alternative measure,” the Bescom pointed out while contending that electricity is a basic human right and the right to safety has to be balanced with the need for transformers to supply electrify.