COIMBATORE: A 37-year-old man allegedly suffocated while trying to clean a septic tank at a private residence on Kannabiran Mill Road near Sowripalayam around 3.30 pm on Thursday. Two other workers suffered minor suffocation and were admitted to a private hospital in the city.
The deceased has been identified as M Mohanasundaralingam (37) of Thiyagi Sivaram Nagar in Sungam near Ramanathapuram. He owned a sewage vacuum truck and employed two workers. Police said he along with workers Guna and Ramu regularly cleaned septic tanks in the area.
On Thursday, Guna and Ramu went into a 15-foot-deep septic tank in the apartment complex while Mohanasundaralingam watched them from outside.
As Ramu climbed down the ladder into the tank, he slipped and fell into the sewer. Mohanasundaralingam entered the tank to relieve him but fainted.
The others who came to his aid also felt a slight danger of suffocation. They immediately alerted the residents of the apartment and pulled them out themselves. But Mohanasundaralingam had died. Guna and Ramu were taken to a private hospital. Peelamedu police are investigating.
One Natesan, inspector of police at Peelamedu station, said they had not received any complaints from the victim's family. “When we reached the spot, the victims, including the deceased, were rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. An investigation is being carried out to find out whether they were wearing protective equipment. We will file a case based on the complaint filed by the victim's family and take action against those who hired them to do the work,” he added.
Meanwhile, a group of supporters met Mohanasundaralingam's family members at the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH), where the body was sent for post-mortem. They said they would petition the district administration and police to take action against those who hired them for the manual eviction.
They also said that the Scavenger Employment Prohibition Act and their Rehabilitation Act as well as the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Prevention Act should be invoked against those who hired them.