Two workers and a contractor who were cleaning a manhole in a village near Panvel in Navi Mumbai died on Wednesday. The City and Industrial Development Corporation, through the contractor, had assigned the workers to the task, Mumbai Mirror reported.
The incident took place at Kalundre village, about three km from Panvel, around 5 pm, The Times of India reported. The contractor has been identified as Vikas Mhaskar, and one of the workers as Santosh Waghmare.
“We were informed by locals about the incident and rushed to the spot,” Panvel Police Station Senior Inspector Vinod Chavan said. “The bodies were removed from the manhole with the help of the fire brigade, and have been sent for autopsy. The cause of the deaths is yet to be determined.”
One of the workers entered the manhole for cleaning it, followed by the other. When neither returned, Mhaskar entered the manhole, Mumbai Mirror reported. Local residents demanded that the police book CIDCO for culpable homicide. A police officer said the contractor and workers were not wearing safety gear when they entered the manhole.
“We have been telling CIDCO not to divert sewage water to our village, but they ignored our complaints,” former village sarpanch RD Gharat said. “This sewage water is creating hazards for the environment, and now three people have died cleaning the mess. The CIDCO authorities should be booked for the deaths. The workers did not even have safety equipment.”