Official directed to submit report in a month

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed the Commandant General, Fire and Rescue Services, to conduct an inquiry into the death of two Tamil workers inside a manhole in the city.

The Bench comprising Justice V.K. Mohanan and Justice Alexander Thomas issued the directive on a public interest writ petition filed by High Court lawyer Basil Attipetti seeking compensation to the legal heirs of the workers.

The court directed the Commandant to find out the cause of the death in the inquiry.

The two Tamil workers were suffocated to death after they entered a manhole in the city on April 13. The Bench made it clear that the Commandant could seek the assistance of experts for the inquiry. The court also directed him to file the inquiry report within a month.

In his petition, Mr. Attipetti sought a directive to the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) to pay a compensation of Rs.25 lakh each to the legal heirs of the two workers who suffocated to death after they entered a manhole in the city.

The petitioner said that the deaths could have been averted if the KWA officials had taken adequate safety measures. The authority should have provided the workers with required special gears, oxygen masks, and boots.

The Supreme Court had issued various guidelines and orders for the safety of workers engaged in sewerage cleaning. He also said that no engineer from the water authority was present when the workers went into the manhole.

When repair or cleaning works were undertaken, an assistant engineer from the sewerage division of the authority was required to supervise the work as per the regulations formulated by the authority. The petitioner contended that the KWA was responsible for the death of the workers.

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