Chittagong: Electric wires kept hanging by hawkers over makeshift footpaths shops in different areas of the port city are posing a serious risk of electrocution anytime.
Sources said the hawkers doing business on footpaths arrange power connection from different sources like nearby shops, illegally from electric poles and temporary meters provided by the Power Development Board (PDB).
As per rules of the Chittagong City Corporation (CCC), the hawkers now sit on the footpaths from 5:00 pm every day in some areas, including the New Market.
They use the electric wires for lighting bulbs and running other electronic devices but leave the points open or folded after wrapping shops in the night.
The scenario is almost same in every area of the port city including the New Market, Sholoshahar, Kazir Dewri, Anderkilla, GEC, Bohoddarhat, Agrabad and EPZ. Hundreds of pedestrians, mainly schoolchildren pass through the footpaths throughout the day and night, mostly without noticing the open electric wires. But coming into contact with the live electric wires may cause electrocution anytime, said local shopkeepers.
They said along with posing the risk of accident, the illegal use of electricity is causing power pilferage.But the authorities concerned are indifferent to the risk and loss of the government revenue, they said.
A section of unscrupulous employees of PDB are facilitating the illegal power connections to the hawkers, they alleged.
The risk will be much higher during the rainy season, they added.
Talking to this correspondent on Sunday night, a hawker in front of Darul Fazal Market in New Market area said they have a deal with a power supplier who takes Tk 30 for each bulb per day.
During power outage, the supplier provides generator service to ensure uninterrupted power supply, he added.
A blanket trader in front of Nupur Market said there are several suppliers of electricity facilities in the area.
“As far I know they (supplier) took a meter from the PDB and supply to the hawkers in exchange for money,” said the trader refusing to disclose the names of the supplier.
When contacted, PDB Executive Engineer Kamal Hossain of Patharghata Sales and Distribution Division claimed that the hawkers in New Market area use the power through the temporary meters and generators.
He, however, denied any instance of pilferage of power through hooking directly from the electric poles.
Asked about the live electric wire, he said there are risks in open and live wires and they will look into the matter.