Three contract labourers died of suffocation after they entered a manhole on a road without any precaution to clear a blockage, the police and officials said on Tuesday.
The incident occurred on Monday night when a labourer entered the 10ft deep manhole without any protective measures. Upon not hearing from him for a long time, another went inside.
Due to suffocation he shouted for help after which the tractor driver, who had accompanied them, also entered the manhole to rescue them.
All the three might have died due to suffocation because of toxic gases inside the manhole, officials said, adding that their bodies were recovered hours later.
The workers were engaged by Hyderabad-based Ramkay Enterprises, a contractor employed by Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) for the work, they said.
BWSSB officials said the workers were involved by the contractors to clear the clogged line and the board was not intimated before starting the work as per procedures.
Also expressing surprise about the work being undertaken late in the night, they said contractors were supposed to use jetting machine to clean the manhole.
Minister for Bengaluru development and state town planning KJ George and Bengaluru mayor G Padmavathi, who visited the site, have assured strict action against those responsible.
“It is an unfortunate incident, it should not have happened. There are both Supreme Court and BWSSB orders that no one should be allowed to enter a manhole to either repair or clean it,” George told reporters.
He said “...merciless action will be taken against those responsible. Negligence is the main cause, despite laws labourers have been used for this work.”
George informed that Rs 5 lakh compensation will be given from BWSSB, and the contractor will be penalised.
The police said they had registered a case and probe was on.