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Death of contract worker sparks debate

Staff Reporter


The man tried to remove blocks in

UG drainage

“He died only after two days”


MADURAI: The recent death of a contract worker who entered an underground drainage manhole to remove blocks sparked a heated debate at the Corporation council meeting here on Wednesday.

When Commissioner S. Sebastine said the local body could not “officially” give any compensation to the family of the deceased, Velumani, members of Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) vehemently opposed him.

Speaking on the issue, Chairman of Standing Committee on Works M. Kannan said that the deceased, along with two other workers, had got into the manhole (in ward 65), two days prior to Deepavali.After the trio complained of suffocation, they were admitted to the Government Rajaji Hospital. However, Velumani died after two days.

The workers were not given any mask to protect themselves from the poisonous gas. “Even a rope was not tied to their body (to enable rescue in case of an emergency),” he said. When Mr. Sebastine ruled out the possibility of the Corporation giving any compensation to the victim’s family, CPI (M) member, M. Palanichamy, warned him that no worker hereafter would help the Corporation clear the blocks in the underground drainage. The Madras High Court had ruled against human beings being forced to enter the underground drainage, he pointed out.

Mr. Kannan wanted the Commissioner to take action against the official who had engaged the contract workers in the work without ensuring safety measures. Later, an engineer said that the cause of the death had nothing to do with the Corporation work. “He responded to treatment at the hospital and died only after two days,” he said.

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