Linemen: Not frontline workers but at forefront during pandemic - Eastern Mirror
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Linemen: Not frontline workers but at forefront during pandemic

By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: May 25, 2021 11:43 pm
Linemen fixing an overhead power line at Secretariat area during the lockdown period in Kohima. (EM Images)

Our Correspondent
Kohima, May 25 (EMN): Electric field workers may not be recognised as frontline workers but they have been performing their duties diligently to ensure that Covid hospitals, care centres, quarantine facilities and households get electricity during the ongoing pandemic.

Some linemen like Dziesesao (28), a work-charged employee, and Vizetuo Kruneilie, (36), a regular employee, face the risk of contracting the virus as they have been tasked to provide electricity-related services at facilities that house Covid patients and returnees.

Dziesesao has been looking into power supply-related issues at Covid Care Centre, Chedema since the pandemic outbreak started last year and Kruneilie has been doing similar job at K Badze quarantine centre, Meriema.

Kruneilie told Eastern Mirror that he has been at his home in Kiruphema village for some days following the demise of his cousin but his colleague Dziesesao had decided to stay at Covid Care Centre in Chedema to look after the electrical-related problems in the facility and to avoid mingling with the residents of locality.

Highlighting the risk involved while executing their service, he said that they use PPE suits to go inside the rooms of Covid patients and inmates at the centres to fix short circuits, fused light bulbs, internal wiring issues etc.

The lineman said that his colleague Dziesesao has been fixing short circuits and other electrical issues all alone at Covid Care Centre in Chedema as inmates were allowed to use electric kitchen appliances such as rice cooker and water boiler.

‘There is work all the time,’ he said, adding that it is their duty to cater to the needs of the patients and inmates.

‘We have to turn on the generator if there is power outage but sometimes the equipment can’t carry the load. So works are always there,’ he shared.

Kruneilie recalled the task of connecting wires at Meriema and Chedema quarantine centres for about a month, along with some of his colleagues.

The rooms of Covid patients are sanitised after they vacate. Then the linemen put on their PPE suits and enter the rooms to fix internal wiring-related and other power supply issues.

He informed that the Power department sent Dziesesao to assist him as he was facing difficulties tending to electrical issues alone on a regular basis. He added that his helper is stationed at Covid Care Centre in Chedema while he attends to any emergency cases arising at Covid or quarantine centres.

‘We tend to internal wiring issues and sometime we even have to climb up electric poles to fix short circuit,’ he said.

‘We are attending to our duties for the welfare of others no matter what may happen to us,’ he added.

The lineman admitted that they were scared while performing their duties amidst Covid-19 patients and inmates last year despite taking utmost care.

He said that there were instances where some unruly inmates shouted at them even for half-an-hour power cut.

‘They (inmates) damaged all the wires and bulbs and even other items before they leave,’ he added.

Miaziekho Kehie (E), SDO – III, Kohima electrical division, department of Power, informed this newspaper that they had to procure and install about 200 light bulbs at various facilities this year as ‘there were reports of articles gone missing from quarantine centres’.

Kehie added that electrical wirings need to be done in more blocks if more people come to the facilities.

However, it is learned that unlike last year, there is no complaint of Kohima residents restricting linemen from entering their colonies during the lockdown this time.

It was also learnt that there are about 150 linemen currently in service. However, fixed labourers are said to be overworked and underpaid while work-charged employees do not get their salaries on time and get delayed by three months or more.

Tokavi Sema, E/D and SBA, Kohima electrical division informed that field staff comes to the power house for attendance every morning and give their reports.

He said that after taking the attendance, they are assigned to different places for duties and that at least two linemen are stationed in every locality to check connections and see that there is smooth flow of electric current.

The fuse call team also keep them informed about the need to redress power failure in different areas, Sema added.

Nzambemo Odyuo, SDO (E) -I, Kohima electrical division, informed that two electricians were pressed into service for power-related work during the installation process of the 300 LPM PSA oxygen generation plant at Naga Hospital Authority (NHAK) from a 500 KVA transformer under the supervision of a junior engineer.

Odyuo added that they also assist in solving internal wiring-related issues in the hospital whenever they are approached.

Meanwhile, Medozhazo Rutsa, JE, Kohima electrical division, informed that about 10 persons had been injured in electrical-related accidents and about three persons electrocuted in Kohima within a span of about eight years.

By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: May 25, 2021 11:43:34 pm