Pune: PMC-installed FRP Electric pole collapsed within 2 months of installation

Pune: PMC-installed FRP Electric pole collapsed within 2 months of installation

Pune: PMC-installed FRP Electric pole collapsed within 2 months of installation

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Despite PMC’s claims of the poles being of superior quality, they have proven to be substandard as they collapse a few months after installation.

31 May 2024

Pune- The citizens have started to question the amount of expenditure on fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) poles which replaced the old yet functional iron poles throughout the city and suburbs which happened to collapse after just a few months from installation. The newly installed fiber-reinforced polymer was apparently “shockproof” but these recent incidents provide evidence for the contrary, raising questions about the Rs 5 crore expenditure done on this project.

The decision to install these poles was made without any demand from the citizens. The PMC had assured that the FRP poles would not pose a threat to public safety. However, the old iron pole-related incidents were rare, with hardly one or two minor cases reported over the years. Pune residents are made to question the necessity of this huge expenditure on a project when the old poles proved to have no significant dangers. Despite this, the PMC’s electricity department has continued to install these poles in other areas. Recently, many of these poles were found to be of poor quality, with pipes attached or electric lights falling off.

These shockproof electric poles were installed by PMC in the city in response to cases of electrocution from electric poles, especially during the monsoon or in areas with stagnant water. The electricity department has allocated Rs 5.28 crore for this initiative to enhance public safety. Initially, the municipal corporation planned to install 1,000 electric poles in the newly formed villages within its jurisdiction. However, the electricity department has confirmed that more than 2,000 poles have already been installed. The first phase includes the installation of 1,000 poles in areas such as Mahalunge Road and Sus.

Features of FRP electric poles-

1.     They are considered safer as they are shockproof

2.     5 to 10 percent cheaper than traditional iron poles

3.     Strong, transparent, lightweight, and resistant to rust

4.     In the event of a short circuit or fire, these poles do not melt

This project was initiated by former municipal commissioner Vikram Kumar as these poles promised to enhance the safety of Pune’s citizens. During the Sankranti festival, incidents have been reported where kite strings got entangled in electric poles, posing a significant danger. Stagnant water around electric poles has also led to incidents of electric shocks, resulting in fatalities. PMC therefore decided to improve the situation by installing FRP poles.

However, this initiative has led to increased concerns about public safety and the prudent use of municipal funds. The installation of these poles in various parts of the city including newly incorporated villages, has sparked opposition.

Current status of street light poles:

1.     Number of street lamp posts in the city: 1,30,000 approx 

2.     “FRP” electric poles installed by PMC: 2,500 approx 

At some places in the city, the poles have been installed yet even after 2 months there are no lights being fitted onto them. Citizens from many areas have raised the concern to the authorities but are yet to receive any response. The poles have been installed in Kondhwa, Undri, Mohamadwadi, Pisoli, and other fringe areas of Pune. 

The head of the electrical department remained unavailable for any comment.