New Delhi: To avoid death of animals in forests due to electrocution by power transmission lines, the Union environment ministry has come out with guidelines detailing safe practices to be followed while these lines are constructed in forest areas.
“To prevent death of animals like elephant in the forest areas due to electrocution by the distribution lines, in the forest area the distribution companies shall preferably use ABC or underground cable," said guidelines (dated 24 October) prepared by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), which were reviewed by Mint.
ABC cables are overhead power lines.
“In case of the overhead lines, the clearance above ground of the lower conductor of 11 KV and 33 KV overhead lines should be as per the CEA (Central Electricity Authority) regulation or above maximum trunk height of the elephant, which ever higher," the guidelines added.
There have been many cases of animals being electrocuted in forest areas. Recently, a 10-year-old elephant died in Tamil Nadu after coming in contact with an electrical fence.
The guidelines prepared by the forest conservation division of the ministry have already been sent to all state governments. They also recommended erection of suitable guard spikes on electric poles to ward off animals coming close to the poles.
The MoEFCC guidelines asked the concerned electricity departments to undertake rigorous exercise to inspect the lines at least once a year.
“Joint inspection of every transmission line by official of electricity department and forest department may be undertaken twice in a year, once before onset of monsoon and once after monsoon so as to identify any need for lopping of trees and ensuring necessary action," it added.
It also said that the “forest department shall inform the concerned power suppliers of the area about every electrical accident occurring in and around forest area involving human/animals which in turn shall submit an accident report to Electrical Inspector of the State".
“All electrical accidents should be investigated by electrical inspector and suitable measures should be taken as proposed in the investigation report," it added.