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Death of two more workers in a manhole in Kolar

Report by Alternative Law Forum (December 2010)


The extinguihing o! live" particularly in un!ortunate an# avoi#able circumtance"
man#ate a $tate repone that attempt to compenate !or the lo o! the live but alo re%uire an
in%uiry into the reaon behin# the ame an# to recognie the liability o! the guilty partie& $a#ly
thi rarely happen" epecially when the #eath i o! two wor'er in manhole& Thi i alo a
re!lection o! the willing blin#ne o! ociety an# a#minitration to the ituation o! manhole wor'er"
who invariably belong to the Dalit ($che#ule# (ate) community& The contant eroion o! human
#ignity by !orcing thee wor'er to engage in uch unhygienic wor' in #ehumaniing circumtance
#oe not even create a ripple in a#minitration an# ociety& The complete lac' o! a wel!are approach
couple# with the !ailure to implement the (ontract Labour Act an# other labour tatute are a bye)
pro#uct o! thi attitu#e o! ociety an# a#minitration& *t i in thee circumtance that thee wor'er
are expoe# to the #aily ri' o! illne" in+ury an# #eath&
,et again two un!ortunate victim lot their live to aphyxiation in manhole& Thi time the
-accident- repeate# itel! on 11
th
December 2010" at a manhole near the R&T&.& in /olar city en#ing
the live o! $hri 0an+unath an# $hri Ra+anna&
Thi inci#ent ta'e very eriou hape in the light o! the !act that it ha occurre# when the
1on-ble 1igh (ourt o! /arnata'a ha recogni2e# the grave an# inherent #anger o! wor'ing in
manhole an# ha contitute# a (ommittee" un#er the chairperonhip o! the 0ember)$ecretary"
/arnata'a $tate Legal $ervice Authority" to" inter alia" loo' into the con#ition o! poura'armi'a3
anitary wor'er&
.n 14
th
December 2010" the 1in#u carrie# an article about thi inci#ent" on the bai o!
which" the !act)!in#ing team coniting o! (li!ton D- Ro2ario" Raghupathy $& an# 0aitreyi /rihnan
(A#vocate with the Alternative Law Forum) viite# /olar to con#uct a !act)!in#ing into the ai#
inci#ent on 15
th
December 2010& The Team wa accompanie# by $hri 6agara+" an auto #river an#
brother o! late $hri $riniva who #ie# in a imilar manhole accident on 1731132008 in ,elahan'a"
9angalore& Report appearing in the pre in regar# to the !act)!in#ing are pro#uce# here a
Enclosure-1& The !in#ing an# obervation o! the team are #etaile# below&
The ' Accident '
.n 11
th
December" 2010 at aroun# 12&40 pm" $hri 0an+unath an# $hri Ra+anna were a'e#
to enter into a manhole near the RT. o!!ice" 9angarpet Roa#" /olar in or#er to meaure the
manhole&
Accor#ing to the (omplaint give by $hri 6arayanwamy" younger brother o! the #eceae#
$hri Ra+anna" he wa wor'ing nearby" when he aw hi brother an# $hri 0an+unath enter the
manhole an# not come out& 1e then calle# $hri 0urali who ue# a rope to pull both the #eceae#
out o! the manhole& *t wa at aroun# 1&40 pm" that the bo#ie o! the wor'er were recovere#" by $hri
0urali& 6either o! the wor'er ha# been provi#e# any a!ety e%uipment whatoever& The :ngineer
whoe reponibility it i to be preent when any manhole i entere# wa alo not preent&
9oth wor'er #ie# o! aphyxiation& The manhole that $hri 0an+unath an# $hri Ra+anna
entere# into wa about 2; !eet #eep" an# wa !ille# with ewerage o! about 8 !eet #eep& $hri
6arayanwamy" younger brother o! $hri Ra+anna" !ile# a complaint with the police that ha been
regitere# by the /olar Town <olice a (rime 6o& 1=132010&
>ariou #alit an# le!t movement lea#er came to the pot o! the inci#ent an# con#ucte# a
protet #eman#ing that R& ; lac be provi#e# to the !amily o! the #eceae#" an# that action be ta'en
againt the errant o!!icial&
The Tahil#ar" $mt& $&0& 0an+ula" the A##itional Deputy (ommiioner" $hri 6& 9abbanna"
$hri 0urali ?ow#a" the vice)prei#ent" (ity 0unicipal (ouncil" /olar an# $hri ?opalappa"
repreentative o! the contractor" $hri /rihna Re##y viite# the pot o! the accident&
The contractor agree# to pay the !amily o! the #eceae#" R& 4 lac each" an# pai# R&
;0"0003) to them on the pot& The $ocial @el!are Department alo aure# the !amily o! the
#eacee# that they woul# be pai# R& 1 lac each& $hri 0urali ?ow#a" vice)prei#ent" (ity 0unicipal
(ouncil" /olar alo aure# the !amilie that he woul# place a propoal !or payment o! R& 1 lac
be!ore the (ity 0unicipal (ouncil&
$hri 0an+unatha" age# 28 year wa a rei#ent o! 6eel'antapura an# i urvive# by hi wi!e"
age# about 21 year" 4 #aughter (age# 7 year" 4 year an# 2 year) an# age# parent& $hri Ra+anna"
age# about 24 year wa a rei#ent o! 0a#havanagura+enahalli an# hi marriage ha# been !ixe# !or
the next month& $hri Ra+appa i urvive# by hi parent" an ol#er brother" 2 younger brother an# 2
younger iter& 1e wa the main provi#er !or hi !amily" an# wor'e# in manual cavenging !or the
lat ; year& 9oth $hri 0an+natha an# $hri Ra+anna both belonge# to the $che#ule# (ate&
<hotograph ta'en on the #ay o! the accident are place# a Enclosure-2& Article publihe#
in the newpaper 'Vartha Bharathi' an# The Hindu #ate# 12
th
December" 2010 i place# a
Enclosure-3&
Response of the Police
The /olar Town <olice $tation ha regitere# a cae bearing (rime 6o& 1=132010 un#er
$ection 407A o! the *n#ian <enal (o#e againt A&?&D& engineer& A copy o! the complaint an# F*R i
place# a Enclosure-4&
The Team met with the invetigating .!!icer" $hri 6agara+ who in!orme# the Team that
invetigation into the accident wa un#erway" an in%uet report ha# been prepare# an# they were
preently waiting !or the pot)mortem report though it appear that the #eath i #ue to aphyxiation&
The invetigating o!!icer in!orme# the team that on the #ay o! the accident the city police ha#
organie# a port competition when they receive# in!ormation about the accident an# imme#iately
ruhe# to the pot& $hri 6agara+ in!orme# the Team that the (ontractor" through hi repreentative"
ha pai# R& 4 la'h a compenation while the #itrict a#minitration an# the (ity (ouncil ha#
promie# R& 1 la'h each&
The team in!orme# the invetigating o!!icer about the @rit <etition in the 1onBble 1igh
(ourt an# that a (ommittee ha# been contitute# by the 1onBble (ourt& The team alo met with $hri
/han" the <olice *npector an# han#e# over copie o! the 1igh (ourt .r#er an# the or#er o! the
$tate 1uman Right (ommiion #etailing the tep to be ta'en by the $tate" #itrict a#minitration
an# Arban Local 9o#ie to prevent uch accidents&
Response of the District Aministration
The Team met $hri 6& 9abbanna" the A##itional Deputy (ommiioner an# $mt& 0angala"
the Tahail#ar with regar# to the inci#ent&
Accor#ing to $hri 6& 9abbanna" he imme#iately went to the pot o! the inci#ent on receiving
in!ormation o! the ame& 1e in!orme# the Team that the manhole in which the accident too' place
wa part o! the main un#ergroun# #rainage ytem being put in place to cater to the growth o! /olar
city an# to augment the exiting A?D ytem& 1e alo in!orme# the Team that the ai# A?D line
wa part o! the Chigh)lineB i&e& main A?D being #rawn !rom the city to the Treatment <lant coming
up on the out'irt o! the city& Further" he tate# that the contruction o! thi un#ergroun# #rainage
pipe wa being carrie# out by the /arnata'a Arban @ater $upply an# Drainage 9oar#
(/A@$D9)" who ha# contracte# the ame out to a contractor" $hri /rihna Re##y (cot o! the
contract being about 7 crore)& Further" he tate# that the pipe)line ha# not yet been han#e# over to
the (ity 0unicipal (ouncil !or a#minitration an# that the /A@$D9 wa reponible !or the ame&
1e alo tate# that ince the pipeline ha# not been han#e# over" there houl# not have been any
ewerage in the manhole& 1owever" ince there wa almot 8 !eet o! ewerage in the manhole there
ha# been a number o! illegal connection ma#e to the pipeline an# it i alrea#y in ue&
*n regar# to the accident" he ai# that on arriving at the pot o! the inci#ent" he met with the
repreentative o! the (ontractor" an# it wa agree# that the contractor woul# pay a um o! R& 4 lac"
out o! which R& ;0"0003) wa given to the !amily o! the victim on the pot& 1e alo in!orme# u
that the $hri 0urali ?ow#a" >ice)prei#ent o! the /olar (ity 0unicipal (ouncil an# the $ocial
@el!are Department ha# alo aure# to pay the !amilie compenation& 1e tol# the Team that
accor#ing to hi in!ormation uch an accident ha# previouly ta'en place in /olar a !ew year ago&
The Team in!orme# him o! the or#er o! the $tate 1uman Right (ommiion" an# he aure# the
Team that he woul# write to the /A@$D9 an# (ity 0unicipal (ouncil about the implementation
o! the or#er o! the $1R(&
The team alo met the Tahil#ar $mt& 0angala" who in!orme# the Team that he wa preent
at the pot o! the inci#ent alongwith the A##itional Deputy (ommiioner& $he ai# that with regar#
to compenation to the !amilie o! the #eceae# wor'er" on behal! o! the #epartment" the wi#ow o!
the wor'er woul# receive wi#ow penion" i! they applie# !or the ame&
9oth the o!!icial in!orme# the Team that they woul# raie the matter with the Deputy
(ommiioner an# ta'e appropriate tep againt the /A@$D9 an# the (ity 0unicipal (ouncil
an# iue notice to both thee authoritie&
Response of the !it" #unicipal !ouncil
The Team wa unable to meet with the <rei#ent" vice)prei#ent or ecretary o! the /olar
(ity 0unicipal (ouncil a their phone were not reachable an# the o!!ice wa cloe# on account o!
0oharram&
The Team met with $hri Ra+eh" itting (ouncillor an# :x vice)prei#ent o! the /olar (ity
0unicipal (ouncil& 1e in!orme# the Team that the /arnata'a Arban @ater $upply an# Drainage
9oar# ha# not yet han#e# over the man)hole an# pipe)line to the (ity 0unicipal (ouncil&
1owever" ince there wa almot 8 !eet o! ewerage in the manhole" it meant that illegal
connection ha# been ma#e to variou pipe)line& 1e alo highlighte# the nee# !or mechaniation o!
the entire proce an# the rehabilitation o! wor'er employe# in thi wor'& The Team wa in!orme#
that $hri 0urali ?ow#a" vice)prei#ent" (ity 0unicipal (ouncil" /olar" who wa preent at the pot
o! the inci#ent ha# aure# the !amily o! the #eceae#" compenation o! R& 1 lac each !rom the
(0(&
The Team wa unable to meet repreentative o! the /arnata'a Arban @ater $upply an#
Drainage 9oar#&
The Team alo met with $hri >en'ateh" Dalita $angharha $amiti an# $hri 6arayanawamy
o! the /arnata'a <ranta Raitha $angha who imme#iately went to the pot on hearing o! the accident
an# hel# a protet !or compenation to the !amilie o! the #eceae# an# action againt the (ontractor
an# (0( an# /A@$D9 o!!icial&
The uner$roun raina$e s"stem in Kolar
The reponibility o! the contruction an# maintenance o! un#ergroun# #rainage i #ivi#e#
between the (ity 0unicipal (ouncil an# the /A@$D9& The /A@$D9 i reponible !or the
contruction o! the un#ergroun# #rainage ytem" an# a!ter maintaining the ame !or a perio# o! 1
year tran!er the ame to the (ity 0unicipal (ouncil&
*n the preent ituation" accor#ing to the o!!icial o! the a#minitration" the ai# pipe)line
ha# not been han#e# over to the (0( an# wa un#er the control" uperviion an# reponibility o!
the /A@$D9&
%hose responsi&ilit"
From the in!ormation receive# by the Team" it i apparent that none o! the concerne#
authoritie an# #epartment were willing to ta'e reponibility !or the accident an# the #eath o!
thee wor'er& @hile the /olar (ity 0unicipal (orporation appear to be o! the opinion that the
pipe)line ha# not been han#e# over to them by the /A@$D9 hence they are reponible" it
appear to be the tan# o! the /A@$D9 that they ha# contracte# out the wor' to one $hri /rihna
Re##y" an# hence they were not reponible !or the ame&
*t i important to ee here that thi lac' o! reponibility i what ha caue# the #eath o! the
two wor'er& The contruction an# a#minitration o! un#ergroun# #rainage i a man#atory !unction
o! the /A@$D9" whoe reponibility it i to enure that wor'er are wor'ing in a!e con#ition
with a#e%uate a!ety precaution& *t i the reponibility o! the /A@$D9 to enure the preence o!
a uperviing engineer who enure that wor'er enter into manhole only a!ter it i clear that the
manhole i a!e to enter into" an# a!ter ta'ing a#e%uate a!ety guar#& 1owever" the /A@$D9 ha
intea# contracte# out the entire contruction o! the pipe)line" an# ha ab#icate# all reponibility
whatoever& *t i pertinent to note that even i! the wor' wa contracte#)out" it i the reponibility o!
the /A@$D9 a the principal employer to enure the a!ety o! the wor'er&
The proviion an# maintenance o! A?D ytem i the tatutorily obligatory !unction o! the
/olar (ity 0unicipal (ouncil" which i alo reponible to enure that A?D ytem i not put to
ue until the /A@$D9 han# it over to the (0(& The exitence o! almot 8 !eet o! ewerage in the
#rain how the clear negligence o! the (0(" which ha le# to the #eath o! the wor'er&
The (ontractor" on the other han#" i alo reponible !or the accident inamuch a it wa hi
reponibility to provi#e a!ety e%uipment to the wor'er an# alo enure that uch accidents are
prevent&
<erhap the !act that neither the engineer o! the /A@$D9 or the (0( or the (ontractor
wa preent when the wor' wa being #one re!lect on their +oint liability& There!ore" it i the
abolute negligence o! not only the contractor" but alo that o! the /olar (ity 0unicipal (ouncil
an# the /A@$D9 that ha reulte# in the untimely #eath o! two young wor'er&
Thi inci#ent alo bring out the grave an# eriou cone%uence o! contracting out o! wor'
o! man#atory !unction uch a contruction" a#minitration an# maintenance o! un#ergroun#
#rainage& The contracting out o! thi extremely #angerou wor' reult in the re!ual o! any
intitution to aume reponibility towar# the wor'er per!orming thi ha2ar#ou wor'& Thi
leave the live o! wor'er in great peril" cauing -accidents- uch a thi where wor'er have lot
their very live&
%hat necessaril" nees to &e one'
*n view o! the above" it i imperative thatD
1. An in#epen#ent in%uiry be con#ucte# the (ommittee contitute# by the 1onBble 1igh (ourt
into the accident to place reponibility on the guilty partie&
2& A #irection be pae# to the $tate ?overnment an# all intitution o! local el!)government
retraining them !rom ma'ing peron enter manhole without the proviion o! a!ety
e%uipment an# the Deputy (ommiioner be #irecte# to monitor the implementation o! the
ame&
4& The $tate ?overnment houl# be #irecte# to comply with the .r#er o! the $1R( !orthwith&
7& A#e%uate compenation an# other relie! houl# be grante# to the !amilie o! the #eceae#&
;& The wor' o! the (ontractor houl# be imme#iately upen#e# pen#ing in%uiry&