3 labourers choke to death in manhole at Dombivali, cops probing contractor for negligence

3 labourers choke to death in manhole at Dombivali, cops probing contractor for negligence
The deceased were contract workers who were engaged in cleaning drains in Dombivali MIDC (Picture Courtesy: Dr Binu Varghese)

Three labourers, engaged in cleaning the sewage line, were found dead inside a manhole at an industrial area in Maharashtra’s Thane district on Friday.

According to officials, the incident took place at Khambalpada in the MIDC area of Dombivli yesterday evening and Kalyan-Dombivli fire brigade was summoned at around 4:15 pm.

Fire Officer Suresh Shinde of the Dombivli MIDC fire station told reporters that the deceased were part of a team of contract workers who were engaged in cleaning drains in the industrial area.

The three entered the manhole one after the other in a space of few minutes and choked to death. The deceased have been identified as Devidas Pajage (30), Mahadev Jhope (35) and Ghanshyam Kori (38).

Pajage had entered the manhole first. When he did not return, the other two followed. After the trio stopped responding to calls from outside, the contractor stopped others from entering and alerted the police.

The cops informed fire brigade officials, who retrieved the bodies. The bodies were brought to Rukmini Bai Hospital in Kalyan, following which they were sent for a post-mortem.

Prima facie, the deaths seem to have been caused by suffocation due to poisonous gases.

Officials from Tilak Nagar police in Dombivli are probing possible safety regulation violations on part of the contractor, Laxman Chavan. If found guilty of negligence, he will be booked and arrested.

Sources say the sanitation workers were working without the requisite safety gear.

While sanitation work is typically undertaken by the civic body, the contractor, in this case, was employed by MIDC.

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