Two workers cleaning the window panes of Videocon Tower in Central Delhi’s Jhandewalan were killed when the electronic outdoor lift they were standing on snapped and fell from the 10th floor to the third floor Monday.
The victims have been identified as Raju Kumar (23) and Ishtar Khan (22), residents of a slum in Vasant Kunj. “Prima facie, it appears they didn’t have any safety equipment. There were no helmets or safety belts at the spot,” said a police officer.
DCP (Central) Mandeep Singh Randhawa said the lift collapsed due to a mechanical failure around 3 pm. “The men were rushed to Lady Hardinge Medical College, where they were declared dead on arrival. A case under IPC sections 304A (causing death by negligence) and 287 (negligent conduct with respect to machinery) has been registered against MS Enterprise, the company that was handling the building’s cleaning work,” he said. No arrest has been made so far.
Khan’s brother Samad (38) told The Indian Express, “He has been doing this job for over four years now and was being paid Rs 13,000 a month. He lived on rent in a small house with his wife and their one-year-old daughter. How can they let him use a faulty machine? Even if they had safety gear, would they have survived the fall?”
Khan’s brother-in-law Mohd Shakir, also employed with the same cleaning company, was present at the spot when the incident took place. Samad claimed, “We got a call from him at 3 pm about the incident. While my brother never spoke about work, Shakir often said the company didn’t provide any safety belts and that it was scary to be so high up on buildings to clean them. Just because we are poor labourers, are our lives not worth anything?”
Samad works as a security guard in Faridabad and returned from their hometown in Jhansi, UP, Monday morning. “My brother was the sole breadwinner of his family. His wife doesn’t work and Ishtar also helped out our unemployed father,” he said.
A police officer said, “The men were wearing ID cards of the cleaning company and were employed there. So far, we’ve found out that MS Enterprises has been engaged for this cleaning job by Videocon Tower for a few years now, and send workers to clean window panes at regular intervals.”
A police officer said the two labourers reached the 10th floor of the 14-storey building and were standing on the lift, cleaning the windows, when it suddenly snapped and fell. “It was a steel panel outdoor automated lift,” said a police officer.
The post-mortem will be conducted Tuesday, after which the bodies will be handed over to the families.