Madras high court suggests laying high-tension wires underground to neutralise cancer

09:33 AM May 19, 2019 | PTI |

Madurai: The Madras High Court has suggested that the Tamil Nadu government consider laying underground cables for transmitting high-tension power so that possible effect of high voltage causing cancer be neutralised.


Justices N Kirubakaran and SS Sundar in their interim order also issued notices to the Chief Manager of the Power Grid Corporation, Collectors of Karur, Tiruchi and Dindigul and posted the matter for hearing after four weeks. The judges said when the power was transmitted through over-head wires, there would be loss of Rs 42000 crore per year.The loss could be averted by laying underground cables which would make the farmlands safe also.

The PIL litigant R Palanisamy sought to quash the prior approval given by the Central Electricity Authority for Pugalur HVDC Station-Thirvalam at Paramathy.

The judge said the petitioner had studied and done thorough research into the problem caused by overhead electric cables of high voltage. It was a model PIL case for others to follow, they said.

The petitioner said the high tension power lines in the overhead caused many problems including transmission of high voltage. But if the cables were laid underground, the lines would be out of sight, require only narrow land, emit only electric field, and can be engineered to emit no magnetic fields, have better power loss characteristics.


The underground cables were cost-effective solution, reliable, less susceptible to weather-related issues, the PIL said, adding they could be monitored better.

The judges said it was also clear from the world cancer report that transmission of high voltage power through overhead high tension lines caused a lot of problem including risk of cancer. The judges asked if that was the case, why in India environmental clearance was not insisted for overhead high tension cables.

When the state government submitted that two of the four projects had been completed, the judge said if 50 per cent of the cost had been spent then the government need not refrain themselves from proceeding with the said project.

But for the remaining projects they could consider laying underground high tension wires. When the health of citizens are affected it is the duty of the central and state governments to take serious note of the same, and find alternative methods so that the health of the citizens were protected, the judges said.

It is not proper for the state and central government to proceed with construction of new high tension power lines without sufficient safe guards. It is also admitted that environmental clearance is not required for proceeding with the projects of the state, the judges said.


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