Staff Reporter

Criminal case booked against three water board officials, two contractors

HYDERABAD: Three labourers died after reportedly inhaling poisonous gases when they entered a drainage line to take measurements at the instance of officials at Marredpally here on Saturday.

The Marredpally police booked a criminal case against three officials of the Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board and two contractors under Section 304-A (causing death by negligence) of IPC in connection with the incident.

Work pertaining to the 20-feet-deep drainage line from Reddy Wines to YWCA near Judges Colony was completed a year ago.

Though it was not put to use, drainage water accumulated up to a height of five feet. "The drainage has nine manholes but all have been sealed. We believe that poisonous gases like methane formed since the drain had not been exposed to light or air for a year," Marredpally Inspector B. Karunakar Reddy told The Hindu .

Water works officials, accompanied by representatives of Ramkee Company that executed the work, came to take measurements of the drainage line. They initially called in a local labourer Narasimha, 30, and asked him to go inside carrying a tape.

Negligence alleged

The unsuspecting worker opened a manhole cover and slid down using a rope. "As Narasimha did not respond to their calls for 10 minutes, the officials called two more labourers - Venkatesh and Aravind - but the latter, too, did not come back," the Inspector said.

Panicky officials and contractors then pressed into service a few more workers who entered the drainage line only to find Venkatesh and Aravind dead.

Narasimha was rushed to Yashoda Hospital where he was kept on a ventilator as he had slipped into a coma. He died a few hours later. Aravind was from Bihar and had none to claim his body.

Relatives and co-workers of the victims gathered in large numbers at the hospital and lashed out at officials for allegedly not taking precautionary measures. Venkatesh is survived by wife Indiramma, two daughters and a six-month-old son.

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