Poisonous gases inside a clogged drain claim the life of 30-year-old Madhu

HYDERABAD: A worker died and two others are in a critical condition after they inhaled poisonous gases inside a clogged drain, which they entered to clean at L.B. Nagar on Friday. Following complaints from residents of Sagar Enclave that a drain on the L.B. Nagar-Owaisi road was clogged, the municipal authorities assigned the cleaning work to a contractor. Three workers — B. Madhu (30), D. Shekhar (34), and K. Yadaiah (43) — went to the site along with a vehicle-mounted machine around 8.15 a.m.

Water gushes in

Madhu first entered got into the nearly 15-foot-deep drain removing the manhole lid. The drain was apparently filled with gases like carbondioxide formed due to the accumulated garbage and litter. As he began to clear the garbage, water accumulated behind gushed in. Madhu slipped inside and fell unconscious on inhaling the gases.

Yadaiah and Shekhar went inside one after the other when Madhu did not surface and respond to calls. “They too fell unconscious after inhaling the gases. The vehicle driver, N. Kumar, sensed danger and rang up the police on 100,” L.B. Nagar Inspector P. Srinivas Reddy, who reached the spot first on receiving message from the DGP control room, said.

Risky affair

Initially the police thought of sending a few persons inside to rescue the workers, but realised it was risky as they could sense the strong odour of gases emanating from the manhole. It was then decided to dig a trench parallel to the drain and fire service personnel were pressed into service with earth moving machines. A trench was dug beside the manhole, but it did not help in reaching the workers.

A second trough was then dug on the other side and vent was made to the drain before the fire personnel managed to get the three workers out.

They were immediately rushed to a nearby private hospital where Madhu was declared brought dead and the other two workers were put on a ventilator. Tension prevailed at the hospital after family members, relatives and labourers staged a demonstration urging the government to announce compensation to the victim’s family. The police was not allowed to shift the body to the mortuary till the kith and kin of the family were pacified with an assurance of suitable compensation by the labour contractor.

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