A DECEASED contractor and ‘officer concerned’ of City and Industrial Development Corporation(CIDCO) was booked for causing death by negligence of two manual labourers and himself in a manhole in Kalundre village, Panvel, on January 9. The workers had no prior experience or training in manhole cleaning, police claimed.
The deceased were identified as Vilas Mhaskar (45), Santosh Waghmare (38) and Prafulla Sarab (30).
“Sarab was identified after a team reached Rasayini, his hometown, from where they both had been hired by Mhaskar.His family had no idea about his death,” said an officer privy to investigation.
“We have converted the accidental death reports to an FIR. Mhaskar and officials concerned of CIDCO were booked for causing death by negligence. No one has been arrested as we are still investigating,” said investigating officer Assistant Commissioner of Police Vitthal Damgude.
“I can’t comment but our investigation is going on,” said CIDCO spokesperson Priya Ratambe.
According to Milind Ranade from the Kachara Vahatuk Shramik Sangh of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the organisation head needs to be booked if such deaths are reported in the area.
“There is a Gujarat High Court order about how the manual cleaning of manholes is to be done. Other than providing safety gear, several checks that need to be done before people enter the manholes, including a simple candle test. A candle inserted in the manhole can tell what kind of gases are in the manhole. But these are never followed. Because those who die are impoverished people, and no one is brought to task,” he said.