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Exposed death traps placed openly in Phase 2, Hulhumale

This is a translation of a Dhivehi report written by Moosa Rasheed of Mihaaru News. He narrates that while a man died from electrocution while pilfering transformer parts, the blame lies not on the man alone but also negligent authorities.

28 March 2024, MVT 08:39
Transformers placed in Phase 2 to supply electricity to the residential towers. -- Photo: Fayaz Moosa / Mihaaru News
28 March 2024, MVT 08:39

The seldom observed sight in Phase 1 of Hulhumale and Male’ City of exposed transformers that are, in contrast, placed near each tower of Hulhumale Phase 2 is not without reason. The locations of these transformers are not only veiled in these two districts of the Greater Male’ region, but bolted locked, prohibited entry and encircled with concrete barriers on all four sides. The reason is acutely evident. Security is tight and cameras are installed.

Strongly powered, underground high voltage cables are directly connected to transformers. Each transformer carries about 11,000 voltages and if openly exposed, the chances of a dangerous incident of electrocution occurring is considerably high. What was seen last Saturday night is the unfolding of this very tragedy.

A young man, attempting to steal from a transformer was electrocuted dead at the scene. While the actions of the man cannot be justified, this cannot be concluded under the assumption that the fault lies with this man alone.

Supplying electricity to Hulhumale Phase 2 was assigned to a Chinese contractor amid former President Abdulla Yameen’s tenure. While this work remains unconcluded to this day, the bid made by State Electric Company Limited (STELCO) at the time was also unsuccessful.

Consequently, residential towers are issued electricity through transformers stationed nearby the buildings. Some towers also remain unoperated due to this pending utility work.

The issue at hand is the placing of transformer devices in extreme exposure for an extended amount of time. While some people stroll nearby the transformers without any obstructions, multiple others have been noticed with their hands drooped over its surface. Children pass these electric devices to enter their respective towers after school and no action has been taken to ensure safety of these devices in a long time other than a “Danger” signage posted over its shell.

Most towers are now developed with a knee-high concrete wall surrounding the devices but these barriers can be effortlessly crossed over, subjecting oblivious individuals to unsuspecting danger.

Transformers placed in Phase 2 to supply electricity to the residential towers. -- Photo: Fayaz Moosa / Mihaaru News

There are no security nor CCTV cameras placed nearby these devices.

The events leading up to the death of the recently electrocuted man also progressed in a similar manner. He was able to smoothly move over the short wall at his inclination to reach these transformers without any trouble.

Contrastingly, the transformers utilized by Stelco to supply electricity across Male’ City and Phase 1 of Hulhumale are not managed in such a negligent manner. Dedicated Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are also employed for managerial conduct of these devices.

Tall walls surround the transformers in these locations with passage into the area blocked with wired fences and other barriers. These premises are routinely monitored with cameras and STELCO employees are also forbidden to enter these stations unless through special procedures and dedicated safety precautions.

Multiple individuals had previously expressed concerns over the transformers in Hulhumale Phase 2 placed over grounds used as children’s play areas in an easily accessible manner that lacks safety and security.

As known to Mihaaru, STELCO officials had also directly taken this case to Housing Development Corporation (HDC). Nevertheless, a dangerous incident had taken place and a life was lost in consequence while the issue remained unattended.

In response to an enquiry by Mihaaru addressing the matter, Assistant Manager, Public Relations of HDC, Mohamed Siraj asserted that employing protective measures over exposed transformer locations is ongoing even at this time. In order to conclude the security measures at the possible earliest, he further affirmed that these procedures are being progressed at an expedited pace with special attention enforced in light of the recent electrocution incident where a life was lost.

Transformers placed in Phase 2 to supply electricity to the residential towers. -- Photo: Fayaz Moosa / Mihaaru News

“When the work is finished, encircling walls and additional security cameras will be installed.” said Siraj.

He had remarked that amidst the recent passing of this young man through electrocution, efforts to enforce an encircling barrier alongside other protective initiatives were proceeding in order to refine the safety of these locations stationed with these electric devices.

“This happened while the work had begun. [This will be] handed over to STELCO after concluding the essential security procedures,” the HDC official ascertained.

While STELCO had placed a bid for this project following the announcement welcoming bids amid former President Abdulla Yameen’s administration, they were unable to obtain the USD 70 million investment.

These transformers are presently supervised by HDC and a Chinese contractor. Regardless, STELCO had extended a helping hand when buildings in the district were faced electricity outages owed to the malfunction of the transformers.

Phase 2 of Hulhumale City is currently in such a state due to the incomplete power network. Comparatively, transformers in Male' City provide backup in the case of a transformer failure ascribed by the connection of transformers into one ring.

As this network connection remains unexecuted to conclusion, fire outbreaks, electricity shorts or damage incurred by cables affect thousand of people living in the designated towers, subjecting many to a difficult situation.

These devices are dispersed across the grounds where children come out to play, in high exposure not much unlike a death trap.

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