Three people, including the owner of an unauthorised “pickle factory” and his son, died Sunday morning in Ghaziabad’s Loni after they allegedly fell into a pit dug to make pickles from vegetables.
Police claimed that Luvkush Jaiswal (62) and his son Praveen Jaiswal (35) suffocated due to fumes released from a chemical used inside the pit. A bystander, Hriday Ram Dubey (40), who tried to rescue them also died.
Pradeep (42), Jaiswal’s elder son, said: “My brother and father collapsed into a pit, dug at the back room of the factory. The pit was used to mix vegetables with salt and water to make pickles.”
The “factory” in question is a one-storey building in the middle of an informal colony in Loni’s Daulat Nagar. Pradeep said his father, a resident of Karawal Nagar, had been running the factory for the last two-and-a-half-years on the property which he had bought five years ago.
According to bystanders, the incident took place at 8.45 am.
“Luvkush’s wife started shouting for help, and Hriday, who had come to my shop, went running. But as soon as he entered the room, he too collapsed into the pit,” said Mohammad Ismail (35), who runs a shop adjacent to the “factory”.
SHO (Tronica City) Shyamveer Singh said, “We arrived at the spot with a fire brigade. Before we could enter the building to rescue the men, we had to make a hole in the wall to let out the gas. Prima facie, the cause of death seems to be suffocation. The post-mortem report is awaited.”
SDM, Loni, Satendra Singh said, “A number of things are being investigated in the matter. There is suspicion that some chemical was being used to expedite the pickling process, which must have released the fumes. A sample has been taken for examination by food safety officers. A magisterial enquiry has been set up and an FIR has been filed for death by negligence against unknown persons. Questions like who gave a licence for the business need to be looked into. We have provided some cash and food to Pandey’s wife until her compensation is fixed.”
Next to the “factory” is the building in which Hriday Ram Dubey lived with his family.
“There’s no one to look after our family now. My eldest son and I are currently unemployed,” said his wife, Neelam (39).