Jagan and Goundar contracted to perform manual scavenging work – despite it being banned – died of asphyxiation in a clogged 15-foot deep manhole on Khasbagh Road. Two garment factory workers Madhu, 21, and Muniraju, 23 who tried to save Jagan and Goundar also died.
Jagan, a native of Andhra Pradesh, and Goundar from Tamil Nadu were hired by a Hyderabad-based contractor named Rao Constructions. They had been working for the Doddaballapura town municipality. Jagan and Goundar maintained the underground drainage system.
It was around afternoon when Jagan and Goundar after unclogging some manholes in other parts of the town had reached Khasbagh Road, where they found the 15-foot deep one.
As they got into the manhole and began cleaning it, the poisonous gases made them gasp for breath. Hearing them scream for help Madhu and Muniraju who were passing by on their two-wheeler rushed to the victims’ aid. While trying to get them out, however, both of them slipped in and fell.
By this time, locals had alerted the police, fire and emergency services personnel. A rescue operation was launched . Council members of the Doddaballapur town municipality, too, reached the spot and began supervising the operation.
A JCB had to be used to dig a trench adjacent to the manhole in order to retrieve the victims, who had stopped responding by then. Their bodies were brought to the surface, and multiple attempts to resuscitate them failed.
All four bodies were then taken to the Doddaballapur Government Hospital for the post-mortem. Meanwhile, families of Madhu and Muniraju staged a protest – joined in by locals – demanding justice for the victims and compensation from the government.
Tension prevailed in the area until evening, when the crowds were dispersed. The Doddaballapur police, meanwhile, have registered a case of death due to negligence under Section 304A of the IPC against the contractor, who is on the run. Police said he had failed to take any sort of precaution or provide any safety to the workers.