20 men lose vision after fall in hazardous pit | india | Hindustan Times
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20 men lose vision after fall in hazardous pit

Up to 20 daily-wage workers are feared to have lost their vision partly or fully when a truck transporting them to a construction site fell into a roadside pit filled with a hazardous chemical in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur district.

india Updated: May 17, 2008 02:54 IST
S Raju/Jaya Shroff

Up to 20 daily-wage workers are feared to have lost their vision partly or fully when a truck transporting them to a construction site fell into a roadside pit filled with a hazardous chemical in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur district on Thursday.

The chemical collected in the pit near Rustampur village in Rampur district after spilling out of a tanker that met with an accident on April 29. More than two weeks after, the chemical has not been cleared. The chemical was yet to be identified, police said.

On Thursday, four of the 20 workers damaged their eyes after washing their faces with the chemical, mistaking it for water, Meerut police said. The four did not fall into the pit.

Several of the injured were sent to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi the same day. Doctors there described the injuries as “grade 4”, or “very severe”.

“Their eyes have been severely damaged,” said a doctor, adding the chemical had affected mostly the eyes and genitals of the workers. “The damage could be more severe than it seems,” the doctor said.

The injured workers had boarded a minitruck in Rustampur to reach their work site. The driver of the truck lost control as he tried to avoid an oncoming vehicle on a narrow road some kilometres away from the construction site.

The injured were first rushed to the Medical College of Haldwani in Uttarakhand and another hospital in Rudrapur, also in the same state.

The state government has ordered a probe and announced monetary assistance to the families of the injured. Meerut Commissioner Umadhar Dwivedi said over the telephone that the guilty would not be spared.

Dwivedi has sought an explanation on why the hazardous chemical had not been cleared from the site where the accident took place.