Chennai: Two men who were not wearing any safety gear died due to asphyxiation after they inhaled obnoxious gases formed inside an underground tank being prepared for a power project at Anna University Campus in Kotturpuram, on Tuesday evening.
The irony is the premier education institute offers courses in the discipline of Industrial Safety Engineering. The deceased, identified as R. Deepan (25) and A. Ramesh Shankar (26), both residents of Ambattur, were employees of Kavi Meena Rubber, an Ambattur-based private firm entrusted with the job of rubber sheeting the tank using a chemical solvent, for Rs 85,000.
The two lowered themselves into the tank around 11 am on Tuesday, and were subsequently found unconscious at around 4.30 pm by the varsity guards.
According to eyewitnesses, one of the two had a pulse and the doctor from the campus dispensary was called to attend to them. However, the doctor declared both dead and the Kotturpuram Police moved the bodies to Government Royapettah Hospital for post-mortem.
The kin were informed about the tragedy at around 8.30 pm. The firm's proprietor Karunanidhi and the site engineer are absconding no sooner than the incident took place.
The tank is part of a power project funded by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). Adhimuthu, father of Ramesh, said that the job would take at least six persons while the firm sent only two to do it. "There was none present on the spot when these two lowered themselves into the tank. They must have died within minutes after they got into the tank", he said.
"Karunanidhi and the site manager, who are liable, have gone underground since the report of the incident," said a senior police official. Varsity sources maintained that they had outsourced the job, and the firm was expected to have provided the safety gear to its workers. CPI-M functionary G. Selvam noted that the varsity wouldn't be able to evade the liability since the incident occurred on their campus and that it is their project.
“The concerned project head and other academic officials who are stakeholders in the project are accountable. They should also pay compensation to the families,” he told Deccan Chronicle....