Traffic on National Highway 16 in Vizag disrupted for over three hours
Three workers, who went down to check a 20-foot deep manhole of the underground drainage (UGD) at Birla junction, beside the National Highway on Friday afternoon, died reportedly due to asphyxiation.
Irate workers held up traffic on National Highway 16 demanding payment of Rs.10 lakh as compensation and a job in the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) to the kin of each of the victims. They squatted on the highway along with the bodies and blocked the traffic coming into the city from the NAD Kotha Road side for over three hours. They relented around 4.30 p.m. only after getting an assurance of ex gratia of Rs.6 lakh, a house and a job.
Shouts for help
It was around 12:30 p.m. when Eswara Rao (33) got down the manhole. When there was no response from him, another worker Appala Naidu (27) went in and after waiting for a few more minutes, the third worker, Nooka Raju (40), a driver of a mini van in the GVMC, got down into the manhole with the help of ropes. He started shouting for help but before others could reach him, he too died, according to the co-workers.
“My nephew P. Appala Naidu was standing outside the manhole minutes before the mishap.
I was working at a nearby site and went to get his carriage (meals). His parents stay in Srikakulam and Appala Naidu is staying with us,” said R. Satyavathi with tears welling in her eyes.
“They got into the manhole one after the other, immediately after removing the cover and must have died of breathlessness. They went to check the level of the drainage pipes,” said P. Veera Reddy, supervisor.
“After the first two workers got down and didn’t come out, I got into the hole but came out within no time as I felt uneasy due to breathlessness. Meanwhile, the third worker got down into the hole with the help of ropes,” said Veera Reddy, who seemed to be dazed.
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