51 students of a primary school in Uttar Pradesh’s Balrampur district were hospitalized due to electric shock attributed to a high-tension wire that was in contact with some trees at the school campus.
The incident took place at around 10 am when the children took off their footwear to sit on gunny bags on the ground. That brought them in contact with electricity which had apparently passed through the trees and the moist ground at Balrampur’s Nayanagar primary school, a police officer in the eastern Uttar Pradesh district 160 km from state capital Lucknow said.
In the horror that unfolded, school teachers recall hearing nearly 60 primary school children scream and run around the place bare-footed to flee. Most of them could not, and fainted one by one. The teachers escaped unhurt because they weren’t required to take off their footwear, unlike the young students.
District Magistrate Krishna Karunesh said action had been taken against electricity department staffers for the lapse that has led to injuries to 51 students.
“29 children are undergoing treatment at Utraula Community Health Center while 22 are being treated at private hospital. All of them are out of danger, Krishna Karunesh said.
The officer added that a contractual linesman had been sacked while another stagger responsible for upkeep of the power lines had been suspended. Also, departmental action has been ordered against the area junior engineer Priya Darshi Tiwari.
“For a few seconds, we could not understand what was happening as a most all children suffered shock after their bare feet came in direct contact with ground,” said the school’s assistant Teacher Richa Singh.
A few seconds later, one of the teachers figured what must have happened.
“Somebody from amongst the teachers screamed that electricity from a high-tension wire has spread,” she said.
The school quickly called the power house to disconnect the power line. “But no one picked up the phone,” she said. Someone did pick up the phone 15 minutes later but the line got disconnected, she added, explaining how they had to struggle to get the power supply disconnected.
As word about the accident spread, parents rushed to rescue their children and with the help of district administration, took them to hospital.
Local lawmakers Ram Pratap Verma Sadar Paltu Ram later visited the children to check on the children at the hospital and pacify angry parents.