Worker slips into 15-ft deep manhole. 4 more try to save him, also die
Five construction workers died after one of them allegedly slipped into a 15-feet-deep under-construction manhole of a sewer network and other one by one other four too went inside to retrieve him near Nandgram locality of Ghaziabad on Thursday afternoon. Ghaziabad district magistrate Dr Ajay Shankar Pandey has ordered a magisterial inquiry and said that the sewer network work was being constructed by Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation scheme.
The incident took place around 1.25pm near Krishna Kunj locality near Nandgram where a sewer line laying process is on for past one year and the workers were taking up the work to connect the sewer line to the manhole. The cops said that one of them sitting at the ground level allegedly fell inside, possibly after inhaling toxic gases.
“After one fell in, another worker went in to bring him back. The second one who went inside also did not come out. After this, the third workers stepped down and likewise the fourth one too. After none of them came out, the fifth also went down but he too did not come out. The locals alerted the other workers nearby and the police was informed. The five men were retrieved but declared dead at a hospital,” said Shlok Kumar, superintendent of police (city).
The five workers were identified by about 4pm after the cops came across one of their colleagues who told police that all were from Samastipur in Bihar. The five were identified as Horil, 35, Sandeep Kumar, 30, Damodar, 40, contractor Vijay Kumar and his brother in law Shiv Kumar.
“We are trying to contact their family members at their native place. The chief minister has taken cognisance of the incident and directed for all possible help to the victim families and has also directed for stern action against the erring officials. UP Jal Nigam will pay Rs 10 lakh each to the family of the deceased persons. I have directed for a magisterial inquiry will be taken up by additional district magistrate and a report is to be submitted within two weeks,” said Dr Ajay Shankar Pandey, district magistrate.
“It is possible that there were toxic gases inside the manhole even if the manhole was not connected to the sewer network. There was water inside and we have asked for a technical report from the fire department. It is possible that the deaths were caused due to the presence of gases inside,” he added.
The district magistrate also directed the municipal corporation to lodge an FIR against the contractor who was awarded work on behalf of the UP Jal Nigam. GS Srivastava, the chief engineer of UP Jal Nigam could not be contacted for his comment. His phone was switched off after the incident was reported.
Jitendra Yadav, a co-worker and a machine operator who was working near the incident site said the workers were provided with safety kit and masks, etc.
“But the five were working without any equipment and had left the items at the godown on the Delhi-Meerut Road where they were residing. There was no sewer water inside the manhole but drainage and stagnant water was present,” Yadav, added.
The five bodies were taken to Hindon mortuary where the deceased were identified by a co-worker, Lal Tun. The cops said that the post mortem of all the five deceased was ordered.