Two workers die cleaning drainage line in Hadapsar

Suffocation suspected; civic body says it did not give contract to anyone for conservancy work at mishap site

Two conservancy workers died on the job yesterday, reportedly because of suffocation while carrying out drainage cleaning work on the 50-feet road joining Magarpatta and Sadesataranali in Hadapsar.

Tragic: Vijay Verma and Vijay Zha, who died while cleaning the 
drainage line on the 50-feet road joining Magarpatta and Sadesataranali. 
The police say Verma was a supervisor and Zha a labourer

Hadapsar ward officials and the police were yet to find out who had given the contract for the cleaning work. Expressing shock at the claim made by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) that it did not know who had undertaken the drainage cleaning, locals said the work had been going on for the past three days and it was unlikely that ward officials had no knowledge of the activity. 

After the incident, the PMC said the two victims had not been contracted by the civic body. The PMC suspected a person or private agency must have given the victims the job without involving the civic body. 
The Hadapsar police registered an accidental death case.

According to the police, the incident took place around 8 am. The deceased were identified as Vijay Verma (36) of Satana in MP and Vijay Zha (25) of Bihar. The police said Verma was a supervisor while Zha was a labourer. 
The incident took place when the two reportedly entered the drainage for cleaning work. 

"We came to know about this incident after onlookers informed the control room," said Police Inspector P N Mandhare. Dinesh Mehta (36), a businessman who was passing by, saw a crowd on the road and informed the fire brigade after noticing no one was ready to enter the drainage line to save the workers. 

Shivaji Chavan of the Hadapsar fire brigade received the call from Mehta at 9.54 am. The fire brigade staff reached the spot and fished out the two workers, who were unconscious, with the help of a hook and rope. 
"The drainage lid had a two-feet entry point and the line was 18-feet-long," said Chavan. "I believe that Zha must have entered first and, to save him from suffocation, Verma must have entered later. But both could not come out in the end." 

Hadapsar ward officer Madhav Jagtap said: "The drainage cleaning work was not given by our ward office. We are going to lodge a complaint as it is an offence if anyone is found making alterations; it is the PMC's job."

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