A contract worker died of asphyxiation in a manhole here on Tuesday. An FIR was filed against the agency that hired the worker for allegedly not providing him safety gear. The deceased, identified as Dalsukh Chhavaria, a 36-year-old Dalit from Behrampura area, was hired by an agency tasked to clean the gutter in Jamalpur ward of Central Zone of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. The desilting was being done by Engineering Department personnel through private contractors.
According to initial reports, Chhavaria was asked by his contractor to enter the manhole without safety equipment. The fire brigade was called at 4.40 am and Chhavaria was pulled out in an unconscious state. He was rushed to V S Hospital where he was declared brought dead, said officials of Ahmedabad Fire & Emergency Services. CCTV footage purportedly showing Chhavaria entering the manhole without safety equipment has gone viral.
There was a ruckus at the hospital as Chhavaria’s relatives refused to take the body until the municipal corporation authorities agreed to pay compensation and give a job on compassionate grounds. After discussion with the Standing Committee chairman, they agreed to allow the body to be sent for post-mortem.
Civic officials did not comment on the incident. The victim’s relatives, meanwhile, demanded immediate suspension of the contractor and civic officials concerned.
Standing Committee chairman Pravin Patel said, “The deceased being a contractual worker, a case will automatically be filed against the private contractor.” He said, “There was no complaint of scuffle with bouncers from the victims’ relatives.” He added that the demand for compensation and job “will be worked out as per the legal provisions”.
Police inspector V G Rathod said that a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder had been registered against the office-bearers of Darpan Valmiki Agency, for which Chhavaria was working. Charges under Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act may be added, he said.
The complaint was lodged by Chhavaria’s brother Kanhaiya, who alleged that the contractor did not provide any protective gear.