Ludhiana: Two sewer men of Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana (MCL) died of asphyxia (poisonous gas) while cleaning a chocked sewage line at Nirankari Street, near GT Road, on Friday morning.
The deceased were working without any safety gear. They were regular employees of the corporation. They have been identified as Sonu (26) and Mehar Chand (40). Another sewer man Kuldeep inhaled poisonous gas but is safe.
According to the employees who gathered in large numbers at the Civil Hospital where the bodies of deceased were brought for postmortem, the incident took place at around 11 am when the sewer men were working following the receipt of a complaint of sewer choke.
Further, they said that Sonu went inside the manhole and Mehar Chand was standing outside having a rope in his hand which was attached to Sonu. They said that initially, it was normal but suddenly when he fetched 3-4 buckets of filth, gas was released from manhole following which he felt unconscious. In a bid to pull out Sonu, Mehar Chand also got suffocated with poisonous gas and fainted. Both of them fell into manhole. Kuldeep (Kala) tried to save them but failed. However, he managed to come out of manhole.
Later, some other employees of MCL entered manhole after around 15-20 minutes of occurrence of the incident and pulled the bodies out.
Meanwhile, suspecting a protest by the employees of the MCL, heavy police force was deployed at Civil Hospital. The family members who reached spot demanded action against the alleged guilty officers. Also, the members of Municipal Karamchari Dal demanded registration of FIR against the alleged guilty officers, including JE and SDO of the concerned zone of MCL, who according to them were not present at the spot. The members of the union also staged protest at Civil Hospital.
The president of the union, Laxman Dravid alleged that it is the negligence of the officials as the sewer men had gone inside manhole without safety kits. Further, he said that they demand FIR against the guilty officials and they would further take up the matter with the police and the higher authorities of MCL.
Meanwhile the Zonal Municipal Executive Engineer, Nachattar Singh while refuting the allegations said that safety kits were provided to the sewer men and they would look into the matter that how the incident took place.
The deceased Sonu is survived by wife and two sons and Mehar Chand is survived by wife and 4 children (two sons and two daughters). Also, employees said that Sonu lived in a joint family and there was a marriage scheduled in the month of November in their house as Sonu was the only bread winner of the family.
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