A DAY after five persons died allegedly due to inhaling methane gas fumes inside a well in Kalyan (East), local residents on Friday blamed the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) for failing to construct a proper drainage line, resulting in the water in the well getting polluted.
On Thursday, Kamlesh Yadav (35) died while cleaning the well on the premises of a temple at Netivali in Kalyan. Father-son duo Gunawant Goswami (45) and Rahul Goswami (25), who looked after the temple, died when they entered the well to look for Yadav after hearing his cries. Later, fire brigade personnel Anant Shelar (45) and Pramod Waghchaure (42) also died when they entered the well to rescue the three.
The police had registered an accidental death report after the post-mortem reports prima facie stated that the deaths were a result of asphyxia caused due to lack of oxygen and poisoning due to gases.
“Until a couple of years ago, the water of the well was also used for drinking purposes. However, the nearby drainage water, along with chemical effluents released by a local dye manufacturing unit, got mixed with the groundwater of the well, making it toxic. This is what caused the deaths,” said Aman Jadhaw, a local resident.
On June 25, Rahul Goswami had posted six pictures on social media showing drainage water overflowing around their house, the temple and the well. “The municipal corporation wants to demolish the small temple so as to make way for a gutter here. However, it has been three years and no work has begun,” he
On Friday, officials of the pollution control board’s Kalyan unit visited the site. “We are going to collect water samples from the well to ascertain the cause of the deaths. According to the police, it is probably methane poisoning. We will run tests to understand what led to the production of methane gas in such a large quantity,” an official said. Local leaders and activists, however, blamed the KDMC for the deaths.
“This is similar to the deaths of the workers in Dombivli. After all, what is leading to so much poison getting inside the sewage and drainage lines?” asked Samarth Vaishnav, an activist from Kalyan. “Either the drainage system hasn’t been cleaned for ages or the drains have become a festering spot for dangerous gases. Either way, this is a lapse on the part of the KDMC.”
KDMC Commissioner Govind Bodke, however, said: “There is a dye unit located behind the well from where untreated waste is suspected to have been released into the drainage lines. We are checking if the company had any permit and if it was letting out untreated waste
in the drains.”
Asked about the drainage line proposed to be built across the well, Bodke said: “We have been working and negotiating with the landholders. They were opposing the drainage line running in front of the temple on the ground that it would hurt religious sentiments. So, we had left the temple and the house and built drainage lines around the area.” He added: “All allegations will be probed thoroughly. The collector has been asked to set up an inquiry committee.”