25-year-old Pavan has retrieved hundreds of bodies from murky waters and has been doing it for the last 10 years

Retrieving dead bodies from deep waters is no child’s play. It is a job that unsettles even the courageous. But for K. Pavan, a resident of Lower Tank Bund, it is a routine job.

He has been fishing out bodies for the last 10 years and claims to have retrieved more than a hundred bodies from wells and tanks in and around the city.

“I also went to the neighbouring districts a few times to retrieve bodies,” says Pavan, who has not taken any special training.

This native of Khammam learnt swimming at his village along with other children. “I used to dive into deep waters and stay underwater for long durations. Once I was able to retrieve a body in my village and gained the nerve . When we shifted to the city, I took it up as a full-time job,” he says.

“The job is easy if the water is clean, but seldom do we get such assignments. Most of the times we get into polluted waters and bring out the bodies. Many a time the bodies are struck in bushes or stones thereby making the job quite difficult,” he explains.

Risks involved

Retrievers like him charge between Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 5,000 for fishing out a body, but seldom get the desired amount.

“It is a risky job. If our calculations fail it means death for us,” the Class VI dropout says.

Recently, Pavan had retrieved two bodies from a well in Falaknuma, but the family being too poor could not afford to pay him any money. Therefore, he had to remain content with what the police gave.

“Sometimes we have to do it out of humanity,” the 25-year-old says.

His parents have time and again advised him against doing this work and have their own reservations and superstitions. But, Pavan is adamant. “I will continue to do it till my health permits,” he declares.


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