This is in spite of a deadline to place all lines and cables underground in the capital city by 2015.
The interlocked wires, often bunched together like “a mad person’s hairdo,” are blamed for several recent fires.
Late last month, a fire started at an electricity pole at 43 Trung Kinh Street in Cau Giay District due to electrical leakage from a huge bundle of cables. Another incident took place at a pole at 98 Cau Giay Street earlier last month, frightening hundreds of residents.
In another case, Nguyen Thi Nga, a resident in Hai Ba Trung District’s Lang Yen Street, received an electric shock while opening her shop door near an electric pole after heavy rain. Even though uninjured, she has a panic attack when she thinks of it.
“The whole area is covered with messy and dangerous wires and they threaten local lives when it rains,” said Nga, adding that after big rain last year, electric discharges damaged many home appliances in nearby homes.
Electric poles holding hundreds of heavy, tangled electric wires are common in many streets around the city, including Dinh Cong, Bach Mai, Truong Dinh, Cau Giay, Hoang Hoa Tham, and Lang. The situation is even worse around old tenement houses where the problem is common.
A group of tenement houses at 30 Pham Van Dong Street is an example. Many loose wires hang down from power poles and some even touch the heads of passers-by.
“Wires even hang down near the public playground, which threatens our children’s safety,” said Dam Thi Diu, a 33-year-old resident in Tu Liem District, adding that promises to clean up the problem had been made many times.
In a meeting back in February 2011, the city planned to bury all overhead electric wires and cables underground by 2015.
However, after over two years, this target seems to have been forgotten – and the mess is still a blot on the city landscape.
Apart from some central streets which were “beautified” to mark the 1,000th anniversary of Ha Noi in 2010, the city now is still covered with a huge cobweb.
“Ha Noi will try its best to have the cables buried on 321 city streets by 2015,” said Vu Quoc Hung, deputy director of the Ha Noi Power Corporation.
Hung said high costs and a lack of good coordination between local authorities and telecommunication enterprises were the two main obstacles.
But he said he hoped city authorities and telecommunications enterprises would overcome such issues.