In response to the hazardous conditions faced by residents in Vasai-Virar due to exposed and risky electrical situations, protective measures, in the form of safety shields, will now be provided to 548 residents. This decision comes as part of an initiative by the Energy Minister, Devendra Fadnavis, who has directed the completion of this task using funds allocated for the 2023-24 fiscal year.
With the aim of supplying electricity to the citizens of Vasai-Virar, various locations in the city have seen the installation of electrical wiring. Currently, over 5,000 households receive electricity through these installations, with ongoing efforts to extend the distribution network.
However, certain areas where the protective shields have not been installed pose a threat to residents living along main roads and in densely populated neighborhoods. The majority of these vulnerable areas are situated near busy roads and important intersections. This lack of safety measures increases the risk of accidents that could potentially jeopardize the lives of citizens. Additionally, various types of shops have been set up in proximity to these exposed electrical points, further raising concerns among the residents.
The urgency for implementing safety measures for residents facing these risks became evident after a tragic incident occurred on the night of April 14, 2023. On the occasion of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Jayanti, a group of activists returning from a procession in Virar faced a life-threatening situation near Lokhandi Road, resulting in the death of two individuals, Rupesh Surve (30) and Sumit Sut (23), with four others sustaining injuries.
To address the pressing need for safety in these hazardous situations, the proposal to install protective shields, termed as safety shields, was submitted under the Metropolitan System Enhancement Plan for Vasai-Virar. The proposal was officially forwarded to the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) by the Director of Engineering, Vasai Division, on March 10, 2022.
Unfortunately, the approval for this vital proposal faced delays for several months. Recognizing the severity of the situation, local community leaders, including Hitesh Jadhav, the District President of the Jan Shakti Party, consistently approached the state government to expedite the approval process. The issue was also raised in the legislative assembly by Sunil Rane, the Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Borivali, during the winter session, drawing immediate attention to the pressing need for safety measures.
The recent directive from Energy Minister Devendra Fadnavis to complete the installation of safety shields for the 548 vulnerable residents by the fiscal year 2023-24 signifies a crucial step towards ensuring the safety and well-being of the citizens in Vasai-Virar.
In conclusion, as the city works towards securing its residents from potential electrical hazards, the tragedy on April 14, 2023, serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for proactive safety measures. The upcoming installation of safety shields is expected to mitigate risks and create a safer environment for the citizens of Vasai-Virar.