Residents of Siparia Old Road, Fyzabad, are planning to file an injunction to stop the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission from running a 220,000 high voltage line and a tower behind their homes.
The residents, armed with placards staged a peaceful, socially distanced protest on Wednesday, expressing fears that the lines will be detrimental to their health.
Two of them, Zenora Ramnarace and Motilal Ramkissoon, who survive with pacemakers planted in their bodies, said after doing research they were afraid that high voltage lines would affect the electrical circuits in their pacemakers.
Spokesperson Harrilal Rampersad said they have already signed a petition.
“It seems T&TEC is only concerned about saving money and not saving lives,” Rampersad said, adding that if the project continues, his family will have no recreational space as the tower will be a mere 25 feet from his kitchen window.
Rampersad said in December 2020, T&TEC workers placed fresh markers on the southern boundary of his property. Subsequently, a building was constructed and it was outfitted with an electrical connection.
However, Rampersad said recently when the T&TEC crews returned and came to do further work, he realised that they had changed the pathway of the electrical lines, bringing it closer to his home.
“This was never the original pathway. T&TEC failed to secure the original pathway on the south of the land. My father Thackoor Rampersad and my brother Doodnath had consulted and the southern portion of my land was consented to be the pathway of the line. We have no issues with development but this line and tower cannot pass through prime residential property,” Rampersad said.
He added, “My nephew’s house and my house are 80 feet apart. This is the only piece of residential frontage property remaining. This is generational displacement. What T&TEC is doing is destroying our lives, our natural vegetation and my children’s future.”
He noted that the T&TEC corridor is 66 feet by 20 metres wide by 350 feet long which amounts to three-quarters of an acre of land.
“We have this land fully cultivated land and two residential buildings and you want to put 220,000 volts over our heads?”
Meanwhile, Motilal Ramkissoon said he was afraid of death if the lines were run.
“This power is 220,000 and it will affect my pacemaker. It is very dangerous for me to be under the lines. That could kill me,” he said.
Zenora Ramnarace, of 176 B Siparia Old Road also said her pacemaker could be affected by the proximity of the voltage.
“I should not be anywhere around these lines. The radiation that tower and lines could give off is not healthy as it could affect the functioning and programming of the pacemaker,” she said.
She added that T&TEC was infringing on their rights.
“Where would I go? What will I do? It is very unfair and the mere fact that they just walked into my property and said ‘OK the line will be passing to the back of your house.’ This is unfair. It is really unfair,” she said.
She added, “I plan to file a petition and take further legal action. This is going to devalue the properties here.”
A senior official from T&TEC took information about the residents’ complaints and said that a statement will be issued today on the matter.