2 Ludhiana hotel employees killed while cleaning sewer, 3 critical

Guard suffocates after inhaling poisonous fumes; owners booked for negligence

punjab Updated: Dec 10, 2017 11:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
Ludhiana,Hotel employees killed,Ludhiana hotel
Family members of deceased Deepak outside the hospital in Ludhiana. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)

Two contract employees with a hotel at Dugri Road were killed after inhaling poisonous fumes inside a manhole on Saturday afternoon. Three other employees, also on contract, are critical and are admitted at the Deep Hospital in Model Town.

Those dead are Deepak, 36, the hotel guard, and Kohinoor alias Armaan. Those critical and admitted at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) are electrician Sonu, Krish and Sameer.

Family members of the victims allege that the management of the hotel, Grand Marian, asked the staff to enter the sewer line, even though none of them had any experience of the job. No safety equipment was provided, they also claim.

Former president of the District Bar Association, Vijay B Verma owns the hotel. His son, Chetan Varma, is now the general secretary of the association. Ludhiana DCP Dhruman Nimble said an FIR had been lodged against the hotel owners under Section 304A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code

Sources said Deepak had gone to clean the manhole located at the basement of the hotel. However, he inhaled the poisonous fumes and lost consciousness. When he failed to respond to calls, other hotel employees raised an alarm and the four also entered the manhole. They lost consiouness as well.

Later, all five were rushed to hospital where Deepak and Kohinoor were declared brought dead.

The family members of the victims protested outside the hotel on Saturday, accusing the management of negligence and forcing the men to clean the sewer.

“My cousin Deepak, a guard, was asked to clean the sewer line. Why did the hotel do this? The contractor who got him this job and the hotel owner should be punished. Deepak leaves behind a five-year-old son. Who will bear the responsibility?,” said Vikas, a cousin of Deepak.

Hotel owner Verma said, “I am out of station. My employees have informed me of the tragedy. I will comment after I reach the city.”

Congress leader in-charge of Halqa Atam Nagar Kamaljit Singh Karwal visited the hospital. “I will bear the expenses of the treatment as the families of the men are poor,” he said.

Sources said one of the dead, Kohinoor, was a minor. This could mean that the hotel violated labour laws, though police have said no one involved in the incident is a minor.

Kohinoor’s family was yet to arrive at the hotel. “I have no clue about his age,” his uncle Sidharth said.

— With input from PTI

First Published: Dec 10, 2017 11:33 IST