Sri Lanka’s authorities should be cautious when issuing building permits: Harsha de Silva


May 13, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Municipal councils and local authorities should be more cautious when issuing building permits to people in areas where there are high tension power cables, a Deputy Minister said.

“People must get the correct approvals for the construction of their houses from the relevant Municipal council or authority,”Harsha De Silva, Deputy Minister of Policy and Finance Planning said.

“This will be an important factor in reducing the accidents or disasters related to unsafe use of electricity and electrocution.”

Data from the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka show that around 180 deaths were reported in 2012 due to accidents from unsafe electricity connections and use.

Out of this, 30 deaths were attributed to people who were obtaining power illegally from the national grid or engaged in electricity theft.

Legally the PUCSL says it is advised that building constructions should be done at least 4.5 meters away from high tension power lines.

“I went for a funeral recently of a father who was electrocuted and died by touching a high voltage high tension power line that was running on top of his neighbor’s two story house,” de Silva said.

“How can this happen? How can you get permission to build a house like this with a high tension cable in such close proximity?”

“This can’t happen; did the house come first of the cable or vice versa? It is very clear that the permits were obtained from corrupt officials.”

He was addressing a power and energy forum on how to use electricity safely which was held in Colombo, Tuesday.