A day after a 30-year-old employee of the UT public health department division 3 was killed and another hospitalised after they entered a sewer at N Area, Behlana, near the airport light point, without wearing the mandatory oxygen mask, it has now emerged that an executive engineer pressed the workers to enter the manhole, even as they were only supposed to clean road gullies.
A senior officer of UT public health department has told HT that executive engineer Naval Kishore was present at the site and asked the sewermen to enter the manhole for cleaning, in spite of protestations by work munshi of the contractor.
On Sunday, UT chief engineer Mukesh Anand ordered a probe into the incident and has sought a report from UT superintending engineer Rajinder Singh Ahluwalia by Monday. “I have ordered a probe to bring clarity on the role of officers concerned. We will not spare anyone involved in the incident.”
Contractor was booked, claims forced to pay Rs 10 lakh
Meanwhile, RR Builders contractor Prithvi Raj Sharma who is responsible for maintenance of road gullies claimed that he had been falsely booked. “I have no involvement in the case as I have not been allotted the work of cleaning the sewer system, but have been allotted the work of cleaning the road gullies,” Sharma said, adding that the UT health department forcibly deployed labour engaged in cleaning road gullies to cleaning of sewer lines.
“Even when this incident happened, senior officers of department including executive engineer Naval Kishore were at site,” he alleged.
He also claimed that he was forced to give a compensation of `10 lakh to the family on Sunday, as mandated by Supreme Court guidelines. “I will move court on the entire incident,” he claimed.
‘Engineer fled the site’
Witnesses have claimed that after the incident, executive engineer Naval Kishore fled from the site rather than taking the unconscious workers to the hospital. However when contacted, Kishore was evasive and said, “I am not a spokesperson.”
Contractor has been controversial
The contractor of RR Builders Prithvi Raj Sharma and his foreman Kishori Lal, who was booked under 304-A (causing death due to the negligence) of the Indian Penal Code, are no strangers to controversy.
His company was allegedly allotted a Rs 40-lakh contract, even as he was not eligible.
MC executive engineer BK Dhawan allotted him the maintenance and running of tube wells under municipal corporation, now found to be fictitious work to the company.
In this case, the MC had admitted that allotment had been wrongly done, but has only issued show-cause notice to Dhawan. Action against the contractor is still awaited.
Last May, three sewermen had died
Last year in May, three workers of Chandigarh municipal corporation died due to suffocation, while cleaning the civic body’s sewerage line near 3 BRD, Sector 31, Chandigarh.