When Lightning Strikes.
By Brinda Sarkar.
Nowadays we are observing a boom in the building industry.
With introduction of high-rise buildings for IT sector,
Telecom Towers, Hospital Buildings and Residential cum
Shopping Plazas sprouting all over, the city skyline is
trying to touch the clouds. Kolkata in India is one of such
happening places, which is seeing a building boom now. With
already a population of around 10 million and more pouring
in every day the sprawling city is hard pressed to find
workplaces and residences for all. The obvious direction in
which the city can expand is vertical. But the vertical
extension of the buildings exposes them to the danger of
being struck by lightening impulses. The average lightening
strikes per year for the city of Kolkata is 4680 mean, one
of the largest in India.
Sonjib Banerjee, director, Acia Pacific Duval Messien says
that the existing tall structures in the city are not
adequately protected against lightening. The French based
company has tied up with a local company Macmet India Ltd
to introduce into the Indian market an electronic device
named “Satelit-3”, which provides an effective protection
system much better than that provided by single finials
atop high buildings and interconnected among themselves.
This new device is self-powered and intelligent. It detects
in advance the changes in the electrostatic fields of the
clouds. It even triggers off streamers of charged particles
to meet an incoming lightening discharge 60 m away from its
tip and safely diverts it to the ground. The building
structure is thus left unscathed. The device is capable of
protecting a building complex situated within 79 m of its
radius against 98% of lightening strikes. A remotely
operated device can check its readiness at any moment of
The same system now protects the Eiffel Tower, Space
Centers and Nuclear Installations all over the world and
costs up to $10,000 a piece.