Two persons were asphyxiated to death in a manhole in Noida’s Sector 24 on Monday. Police said a third person, who jumped into the manhole to save the two, was, however, rescued.
Police said the incident took place around 4.30 pm, when Bablu Valmiki (28), a cleaner at the ESI Hospital, entered the manhole to clean it. “When he didn’t surface for a long time, his wife raised an alarm. Shyamveer, a nearby fruit-seller, then entered the manhole in order to rescue Valmiki. But he too was asphyxiated to death. A third person, Ramu, who owns a mobile shop, then jumped into the manhole as well but by then the fire brigade had reached the spot and rescued him. The other two men were rushed to hospital but were declared dead on arrival,” Vishwajeet Srivastava, DSP (Noida) said.
Police said after Valmiki and Shyamveer entered the manhole, passers-by, who had gathered there, called the fire brigade. “All three were pulled out of the sewer line within minutes and were rushed to a nearby hospital. While we have sent the bodies for a post-mortem examination to ascertain the cause of death, prima facie it seems they were asphyxiated by poisonous gases in the sewer,” Srivastava said.
Eyewitnesses said Valmiki lowered himself into the manhole without wearing any protective gear. “In the area, all the cleaners enter sewer lines without wearing any mask or other protective equipment. A case like this was waiting to happen,” Rajiv Solanki, a resident, said.
Police said they could probe negligence, if any, on the part of the contractor that employed Valmiki, but were yet to receive any complaint so far. “If someone were to file a complaint of negligence, then we will investigate… But so far, no complaint has been filed,” a police officer said.