FOUR LABOURERS were died during maintenance of a sewage treatment plant (STP) of Jetpur Dyeing and Printing Association (JDPA) in Rajkot district on Wednesday.
Police said the incident took place around 12 pm when the labourers were cleaning slurry water pump well in the STP. At first, team leader Jaipal Vala (34) went down the 17-feet-deep well when he became unconscious. Then three others — Hariya Bhuriya (45), Rakesh Bamaniya (26) and Rushmal Mavi (20) — went down to help Vala.
“All of them died on the spot. We are probing the cause of their death. We have registered a case of accidental deaths,” Jetpur police inspector H G Pallacharya said.
The doctors at the referral hospital in Jetpur, where the four were rushed, said the victims prima facie suffocated to death. “There were neither injury marks on their bodies nor were there any signs of drowning. Therefore, the primary cause of their deaths seems to be asphyxia. We have collected samples of their viscera and sent them for detailed analysis,” Dr Nikita Padia, medical officer, said.
While JDPA president Raju Hirapara could not be contacted, local officers of Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) said the plant was under maintenance shutdown.
“The JDPA had intimated us on October 2 that their STP and common effluent treatment plant (CETP) will be closed for annual maintenance from October 20 to October 27. The labourers were either affected by concentration of carbon monoxide or electrocuted while cleaning the sludge dewatering well. But, that matter is under investigation,” Jayant Goswami, regional officer of GPCB, said.
Goswami added that the STP and CETP are operational for around two decades. Jetpur Mamlatdar R M Vadukia said that forensic experts had visited the plant and collected the samples of sewage and slurry.