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Sewer line workers were asphyxiated, says postmortem report

Udaipur : Four workers who were killed in a 19-feet deep sewer chamber in Manwa Kheda area of Udaipur city on Wednesday had inhaled some poisonous fumes and die of asphyxiation. The postmortem report revealed suffocation as the cause of death, they were not electrocuted as that was primarily speculated as the cause of death. There was impact of poisonous gas inside their organs but no burn marks on their bodies neither had any of the parts turned black, which happens in cases of electrocution, the postmortem report revealed. Foam was present on the mouths of two victims.

On written complaints from the bereaved family members of the deceased, an FIR under section 304A for causing death by negligence has been lodged against two companies who had the contract and sub-contract for the sewer line laying works under the Udaipur Smart City Project. ” An FIR has been registered against two firms namely DR Agarwal and Projecty Buildhome for causing the deaths due to negligence. They did not provide mandatory protective gears to the workers nor did they check the presence of gases before sending down the workers for the task” Hanuwant Singh, SHO HiranMagri police station said. The workers including supervisor KanSingh, labourer Kailash Meena had stepped inside the sewer chamber to check some blockage while a JCB driver Dharmchand and tractor driver Prahlad went in to rescue them. The family members of all of the victims reached on wednesday night and next morning the autopsies were held by a medical board.

While the postmortem was being conducted, representatives of both the contract firms were present at the hospital. They handed over the ex-gratia cheque of 4.5 lakh rupees each to the aggrieved family. Meanwhile, Udaipur Mayor Chandra Singh Kothari said that as per the tender terms, the company which has been awarded the contract has to complete the task itself. It cannot sublet the work to another firm. Kothari said that a thorough examination of documents would be made and if the primary contract company is found to have violated the norms, legal action would be initiated. The medical board has collected vicera samples of the victims and a detailed examination report would be made, sources informed.

Meanwhile, authorities including SP KailashChandra Bishnoi, officials of the Smart City Project and technicians from electricity department went to the site. The technical team of the power supply department checked the flow of current inside the sewer chamber and surroundings through a detector and found that there was no earthing or current flow inside the chamber.

Manhole non functional since two months

The manhole had been non functional for some two months and the chamber was filled with 1.5 feet of water. Dirty water from the sewer line had seeped inside the chamber that was 19 feet deep and since the manhole was closed, toxic gases had developed. As the workers stepped inside, they suffocated after inhaling the harmful gases and collapsed.