Thursday, May 4, 2017

Poisonous gas in manhole kills two sweepers

Patna: Two sweepers of Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) died and two other fainted inhaling poisonous gas when they were doing cleaning of an underground drain near Income Tax round about here on Wednesday.

A six-member sweepers’ team comprising Deepu Choudhary, Jitendra Paswan, Mahendra and others reached the manhole point to clean the underground drain in the morning. Deepu entered into the manhole pulling the lid up. Getting no response from Deepu after a few minutes, his colleague Jitendra too entered into the manhole.

Other sweepers too started shouting  Jitendra’s name as it is a rule they follow during the cleaning of underground drain through manhole. Getting no answer from Jitendra, another sweeper Mahendra entered into the manhole tying a rope around his waist but he too fainted. Other coworkers quickly pulled him out.

Later a fireman with oxygen cylinder in his back tried to enter the manhole but he too fainted.

Police swung into action and recovered Deepu and Jitendra from the manhole. They were sent to nearby Gardiner Hospital for treatment. After some primary aid they were taken to Paras Hospital where the doctors declared them dead.

It’s learnt that there was a gross negligence on the part of the PMC as the workers were asked to enter the manhole within one hour after opening its lid while the norms say the duration should be a minimum of six hours for proper emission of deadly gases. The sweepers also did not have the equipment required for this type of cleaning operation.

The workers union of the PMC staged strong demonstration at the New Capital Region office of the PMC with bodies of the victims. They demanded Rs 20 lakh compensation each for the family members of the victims.

The union has also threatened to go on strike from May 15 if their demands are not met.

Photo: Aftab Alam Siddiqui

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