Sanitation worker slips into manhole in Vijayawada, dies

A sanitation worker died after slipping into a manhole at H Block of Vambay Colony. His body was retrieved late at night.

Published: 21st March 2018 04:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st March 2018 04:11 AM   |  A+A-

Rescue work in progress at Vambay Colony in Vijayawada on Tuesday | Express

By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: A sanitation worker died after slipping into a manhole at H Block of Vambay Colony here on Tuesday afternoon. His body was retrieved late at night.

The incident took place around 3 pm when five workers hired to clear clogs in manholes by a Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) contractor got down to work in a dumping yard near the colony. One of the workers, Gunja Gangaraju (37) of Vaddera Colony, climbed into the 22-feet manhole without any safety gear along with another person. While climbing up, Gangaraju slipped and fell into the manhole and was washed away immediately.

The other workers quietly walked away without making any effort to save Gangaraju. After a crowd gathered at the manhole, locals alerted the Nunna Police around 5 pm. Rescue workers from Andhra Pradesh State Disaster Response and Fire Services Department were deployed and a team of doctors rushed to provide medical aid to the sanitation worker, but Gangaraju had died by the time he was found. Garbage clogging manholes in the area slowed down the search operation. JCBs were pressed into service to remove the garbage, but it was too late.

“We searched the 22-ft manhole for more than 20 minutes, but couldn’t find Gangaraju,” SK Salam, a Task Force representative said. The 37-year-old is survived by his wife and three children. He had earlier worked as a plumber, but switched to cleaning sewage channels to make ends meet.

Chemical firm in the dock

Anakapalle Rural Police on Tuesday registered a case against the management of SRB Chemicals in Anakapalle mandal, for alleged negligence which led to the death of 3 workers.

The eldest of the three children, G Devi, is in Class VIII, G Jyothi Prasad is in Class VI and G Meenakshi is a student of Class V at a municipal school in Vaddera Colony.

The Municipal Corporation Employees Union has demanded compensation for Gangaraju’s family. CPM capital region convener Ch Babu Rao said as per the Supreme Court guidelines, manual cleaning of manholes was banned. He alleged that VMC didn’t learn any lesson from the previous deaths of sanitation workers in manholes. Over 10 sanitation workers died in manholes in the last decade.

Municipal Commissioner J Nivas said that the sanitation worker accidentally fell into the manhole after clearing clogs. Soon after learning of the incident, Central MLA Bonda Umamaheswara Rao reached the spot. He interacted with the family of the victim and assured of necessary financial support. Police officials at the spot said a case under section 304a (causing death by negligence), 336 (endangering life or personal safety) and 337 (causing hurt) would be registered against the municipal contractor, who had hired the victim, only after the body was found.


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