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Monday, October 18, 2021

Sent to clean tank in Greater Noida, two labourers die

GREATER NOIDA: Two labourers died and two others had a narrow escape after they were asked to enter and clean an underground tank containing petrochemicals on the premises of a factory in Site V, Kasna, on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, the contractor who had contacted them for the job was arrested.
According to the workers, they had asked for safety gear before going in but were told it was not dangerous.
Around 9 pm on Tuesday, contractor Hemant had approached the four labourers and asked them to clean the underground tank at Jagdamba Petroleum Private Limited.
Ravindra, one of the labourers who went inside the tank, said Hemant offered to pay them Rs 6,000 for the job. “He had contacted us for such work earlier, so we did not think this was going to be so dangerous. They did not give us any safety gear and four of us were wearing just cloth masks,” he said.
Usually, head gear, belt, harness and oxygen masks are provided for such work.
The 18-year-old labourer said when they reached the spot, they met factory owner Surendra Gupta who showed them the tank that had had one opening on the surface. “There was a foul smell and when we asked about it, the owner said there was no danger involved, as they had cleaned out water from the reservoir some seven-eight times. He said we just had to remove dirt from inside the chamber,” Ravindra said.
Around 9am, Pankaj (21) and Rambhesh (26) entered the tank and soon, they fell unconscious. “When they stopped responding to our calls, we got worried. Ramesh and I were standing next to the ladder that they had used to get inside. I went down to check on them but I felt suffocated and within a minute, I climbed back up,” Ravindra said.
Pankaj and Rambhesh were pulled out by some local people with the help of a rod after about 15 minutes. They were taken to Greater Noida’s Kailash Hospital where they were declared dead. According to local people, Rambhesh got married about one-and-a-half-years ago.
Station officer, Kasna, Sudhir Kumar said the factory gets petrochemicals from other places and treats that to make petroleum products, which is then distributed to paint and other industries. The two labourers died of suffocation, the police officer said. On Wednesday night, contractor Hemant was arrested, he added. An FIR was lodged against him and the factory owner under IPC sections 304 A (death due to negligence) and 284 (with any poisonous substance any act in a manner so rash or negligent as to endanger human life) after Ravindra lodged a police complaint. The factory owner could not be contacted.
DCP (Greater Noida) Abhishek Jha said a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each would be given to the families of the deceased labourers after an assessment by the labour inspector.

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