A day after a 23-year-old labourer fell to his death while working on the construction of an electricity tower in Greater Noida’s Pali village, no FIR has been filed in the matter, which has so far been labelled as an ‘accidental death’. “The victim, Dharmendra, was wearing a safety belt, which broke. A post-mortem examination was conducted and it showed that the death was due to the fall. Unless a member of his family approaches us and presses charges, no FIR can be filed,” said SHO, Surajpur, Manish Chauhan.
The victim’s co-workers said his family lives in Jhandapur village in Bihar’s Bhagalpur, and his body will be taken home by a cousin, also a construction worker. “There are around 50 of us working on this site, where we are constructing two towers through a contractor, Uma Construction. At the time of the incident, around 4 pm on Tuesday, all of us were present along with a supervisor from the company. Dharmendra had gone up one of the poles and he missed a step. The rope holding up his safety belt snapped… he must have fallen 50 metres,” said Pankaj Kumar (25) from Begusarai, Bihar.
“We are given safety belts and 12 mm ropes to hold us up. But there is not a single helmet on the site. We have been asking our contractor to provide helmets since we started working here on August 8, but have just been told they will arrive,” said Arvind Kumar from Bhagalpur.
The workers said they are no strangers to death on the job. “I have been working on various electricity tower construction projects in different parts of UP for four years now, and I have seen four of my co-workers die,” said Pankaj Kumar.
Police said they were working for Noida Power Company Limited (NPCL). Officials of the NPCL, however, said the area concerned falls under the Pashchimandal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Limited (PVVNL). PVVNL officials, in turn, said it is under the NPCL. Both claimed to have no knowledge of the incident.
While the contractor could not be reached for comment, the workers themselves were unable to specify which power corporation they were building the towers for.
Just a few months ago, a group of us were working at a site in Samadhipur in Jaunpur, where a co-worker died after being buried under earth that fell into a foundation he was building.