‘Operator did not close the gates of drain, ran away’

Doing so would have saved lives of fellow workers: survivor

On June 28, after three labourers fell unconscious in a Delhi Jal Board sewer line in Keshopur, Mohammad Imran, 19, ran to the man operating the gates of the drain that flowed into the sewer.

Imran said he begged him to close the gates but the operator ran away.

“After they [three worker] fell unconscious, I ran and told him [operator] that people are trapped inside and asked him to close the gates [to stop the inflow of water]. But he closed the room which controls the four gates and ran away,” Imran said, adding, “If the gates were closed, the three could have been saved.”

Broke open the gates

Imran then tried to go down the sewer line using a rope, but fell almost unconscious due to the gases and was pulled up. He, along with his friends, broke open the room and finally closed the gates.

“After we closed the gates, the water flow decreased and Shahrukh’s body was recovered. But the other two workers got washed away into the pipeline,” Imran said outside the mortuary of Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital in west Delhi while waiting for Shahrukh’s body.

On Saturday, the door to the room which controls the gates, was found to be open and its lock broken.

Ramrup Chaudhary, 51, who runs a tea shop next to the gates, said he had seen the workers breaking open the door of the room with a hammer.

Ram Lakhan, 25, who was also working at the sewer line said, “The water flowed in very fast leading to the death of one worker by drowning,” he said. Two people were washed away and chances of their survival are very less.

Though workers said that the gates were operated by the Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Nikhil Kumar, Secretary of the department said that it cannot be confirmed at this point. “Drains in Delhi are under different agencies and we cannot confirm whether this is under our department. Things would be clear once EIL [Engineers India Limited] submits a report,” he said.

The DJB had given the project to EIL.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 12:03:53 AM |

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