Kamran Soomro, an employee of the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), drowned while cleaning a manhole in GOR Colony on Wednesday. Wasa supervisor Imran Warsi and sweeper Irfan Maseeh tried to rescue Soomro but fell into the manhole themselves. They were pulled out by residents before the agency’s officials arrived at the spot.
Kamran was 30 years old and worked as a pump operator at a drainage pumping station in GOR colony. According to Dr Amar, Kamran had passed away before he was brought to the Civil Hospital. The doctor believed that Kamran must have fainted due to the heat and presence of various gases in the manhole.
Wasa employees, who regularly carry out perilous tasks like cleaning and fixing the manholes, do not have the necessary safety gear. Wasa managing director Saleemuddin Arain said that the agency lacked financial resources to equip its workers with such protective gear. “We haven’t even paid our employees for the last five months,” said Arain while talking to The Express Tribune. The agency will seek the provincial government’s help in order to compensate the victim’s family.
A child had earlier died after falling into a manhole near Maa Jee Hospital, Latifabad, in March, while three residents of Sehrish Nagar also died while fixing a problem with a manhole in their area.
Deputy Commissioner Agha Shahnawaz Baber formed a committee, headed by additional deputy commissioner Abid Saleem Qureshi, to probe the incident. The committee will submit its report in 15 days.
Meanwhile, Kamran’s relatives complained that Wasa and the Hyderabad Development Authority (HDA) left the deceased body at the hospital and did not inform them. “He worked at the agency for [nearly] six years, but they did not bother to inform us about his death,” said Ghani Soomro, a cousin of the deceased.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2012.