Three labourers died due to asphyxiation and one landed in hospital after inhaling toxic fumes while cleaning the septic tank of a private bungalow in Virar (West) on Friday.
The Arnala police have registered an accidental death case and are awaiting the autopsy report to determine if an FIR should be filed against the bungalow owner, Hemant Gharat.
Despite the lockdown, the police said, Gharat had hired the four men to clean the sewage tank located behind his bungalow in Ranpada village, in Boling. Around noon, the labourers—Nayan Boye, Jayendra Mukne, Tejas Bhate and Nitesh Mukne, all in their 30s—entered the septic tank, while Gharat supervised the work from outside.
The labourers, who were not wearing safety gear, including masks, soon complained of uneasiness.Gharat pulled them out and rushed them to a private hospital, but Boye, Mukne and Bhate were declared dead before admission. The hospital doctors informed the police.
Mukne, whose condition is said to be serious, is undergoing treatment at Sanjeevani Hospital in Virar., said a police officer.
Like most villages in the Vasai-Virar region, Ranpada village was also locked down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It is suspected that as outsiders are not allowed in the area due to the lockdown, the villagers are carrying out repair works by hiring local workers, who may not have enough experience but are willing to work for low wages.