Two employees with the health department (safai karamcharis) were killed and three injured on Thursday after inhaling poisonous gas in Barnala.
The deceased, Ramesh Kumar and Tinku, had gone down a drainage pipe to clear the line near tubewell number 6 at Nanaksar Nagar.
The police said the victims were not wearing safety masks. It added that Ramesh died in the drainage line itself, while Tinku died on his way to local hospital. The bodies have been sent to the local civil hospital for treatment.
The condition of the two injured identified as Mukesh Kumar and Bunty was stated to be critical and they have been referred to DMC Ludhiana. There were minor injuries on the 5th victim.
The kin of the deceased, along with other members of other trade unions, organised a protest, demanding immediate action against those responsible for the deaths. Police personnel have been deployed in hospital premises to avoid any untoward incident.
President of Inqalabi Workers' Union Niranjan Dutt said that they wanted the government to provide a government job to one member in the immediate family of the deceased and a compensation of Rs 10 lakh.
Akali leader Darbara Singh Guru said that had discussed the incident with chief minister Prakash Singh Badal over telephone. He added that that CM had announced a compensation of Rs 3 lakh from the CM's relief fund to the families of the two dead, while the government will bear the expenses of the injured persons.
Additional deputy commissioner Zora Singh Thind said they had decided to move a file for providing a job to the kin of the deceased after consultations with municipal council authorities.
No FIR had been registered till the filing of this report.