A labourer died while three others were rescued after they got buried under a heap of earth while laying sewage pipes in Ram Nagar Colony area on the Majitha Road bypass here late on Saturday evening.
The deceased has been identified as Anil Kumar, who hailed from Purnia district in Bihar. The incident comes just four days after three labourers lost their lives in a similar incident, while replacing sewage pipes in Fatahpur area.
The labourers had dug up to 8 feet, when around 7pm the earth started caving in and those working in the ditch got trapped, said eyewitnesses.
One of the labourers, identified as Captain, managed to climb up, but others — Bavarchi, Ram Parsad, Ashok and Anil Kumar — got buried under the soil. As other labourers raised the alarm, a number of people gathered there to rescue the labourers.
After a few minutes, the police and fire brigade, too, reached the spot and managed to rescue three labourers. After making efforts for around two hours, the rescue team pulled out Anil’s body.
Authorities shun responsibility
With two similar fatal mishaps taking place within a week, questioned are being raised on safety measures put in place for labourers working for contractors hired by government authorities for development projects in the city.
Municipal commissioner Sonali Giri said it is the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB) that is responsible for ensuring safety of workers during sewerage work. “As far as our role is concerned, we get an assurance from the contractor that safety of workers will be ensured.”
PWSSB executive engineer Rahul Kaushal put the onus for the first mishap on the public works department (PWD). “As far as the second incident is concerned, precautions had been taken while undertaking the laying of sewage pipes. The sewerage system, being old, collapsed and the earth caved in, leading to the unfortunate death.”