In a case of sheer public apathy, an unidentified man appearing to be in his 50s, died after falling in an open manhole in the circulating area near reservation centre at Ludhiana railway station. While the body was found on Saturday, it is still not known when the victim fell in the manhole though the police suspect he fell during the last 24 hours.
Moreover, the railway police could not find a vehicle to shift the body to the hospital resulting which it lay there at the station for over two hours.
The body was spotted by a sweeper following which he raised an alarm and called the police. A huge crowd gathered around the manhole.
The body was taken out of the manhole at around 12.40pm. Realising their folly, the railway authorities immediately covered the open manhole after taking out the body.
The body was then shown to some people at the railway station for identification. After no one could identify, it was covered with a blanket. GRP officials were present there for initial 15 to 20 minutes, later they went away searching for a cart so as to shift the body to the hospital. The covered body then lay in the open for around two hours as the police officials were not able to immediately arrange the vehicle to take the body to the civil hospital.
An officer from GRP office confirmed that there is only one person whom they have hired for carrying the body in the cart. However, the person was not available at the station when the body was to be shifted.
Commuters entering and existing the railway station were shocked to see the body lying there with no one around. Meanwhile, for over one hour, curious onlookers came near the body and felt disgusted at the state of affairs. It was only at around 2.30pm that the body was loaded up in the cart and taken to the civil hospital.
A street vendor who witnessed the body said that at around 8am the body was found by a sweeper while cleaning the area. Labourers and stall owners claimed that the man had died because the manhole was left open.
“The man must have fallen into the manhole in the dark as the light is not enough here to see the open manhole,” one of them said.
Investigating officer Rishi Ram said that the deceased could be a drunkard and may not have seen the open manhole and accidentally fallen into it. “However, the investigation is on,” he said.
A railway official, on request of anonymity, said that the responsibility of covering manhole in circulating area is with inspector of works (IOW). But Sunil Kumar, IOW did not answer the call even after several attempts.