Two workers died of asphyxiation while cleaning the sewage tank located behind the military campus inside Fort St. George in Tamil Nadu on Friday, February 26.
The incident took place when five workers, all residents of Chennai's Annai Sathya Nagar, were employed by a private contract company Srital Systems to clean the sewage tank behind the campus on Flag Staff Road, The Hindu reported.
One of the deceased, K. Santosh, 35, collapsed after inhaling poisonous gases and co-worker K. Raja, 40, who, while rescuing the former, fell unconscious. The other three, Venkatesh, Panneerselvam and Manivannan, managed to get out of the tank after sensing that something was wrong with the other two.
Later, the duo was pulled out by the staff, who rushed them to Military Hospital, from where they were referred to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital. The doctors declared them dead and confirmed asphyxiation (lack of oxygen) as the cause of death.
The Fort police booked S. Rajiv, who runs the private firm, and M. Gopikannan, manager of the firm, based on the compliant of the wife of one of the deceased.
Both have been charged under section 304 (i) (Culpable homicide not amounting to murder), provisions of The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, and The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, and have been sent to judicial custody.