Chennai, Nov 1 (IANS) Two girls died on Wednesday due to electrocution in Kodungaiyur in Chennai as heavy rains pounded the city and suburban areas as well as coastal districts of Tamil Nadu for a third day.
Bhavna and Vijayshri, both eight years old, were electrocuted when they stepped on a power cable covered by stagnant rain water in R.R. Nagar.
Another girl escaped after she jumped on a cement slab. The girls were playing near their home as the schools were closed because of the rains.
Eight officials of the Electricity Board, including an Executive Engineer and an Assistant Engineer, were suspended for dereliction of duty, Electricity Minister S.P. Velumani told reporters.
He also announced a solatium of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of the dead.
He said leakage of electricity from the wire from an open pillar box was the reason for the girls’ electrocution. A five-member group has been set up in the Electricity Board that would ensure that such incidents do not recur, he added.
Velumani said chances of electrocution were less in Chennai because of underground cabling of electric wires but the accident took place because of the lack of proper upkeep of the pillar box. There were 40,000 such pillar boxes in the city, he added.
Angry residents staged a protest condemning government negligence. They complained that the negligence of the pillar box despite their complaints was the reason for the death of the girls.
As rains continued to lash Chennai and suburbs, low lying areas especially in Mudichur and Selaiyur near Tambaram were marooned.
Varadarajapuram near Mudichur, one of the worst hit areas in the 2015 floods, again presented a picture of plight as residents started leaving for safer places.
The Met office has predicted intermittent rains in Chennai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur districts for Thursday.
Schools in these districts were closed for a second consecutive day on Wednesday owing to rains. They were closed on Tuesday owing to rains on Monday.
The weather department has also predicted rain or thundershowers at most places over coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and at many places over interior Tamil Nadu for the next four days.
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