Labourers’ death: Kin create scene

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 Apr 2018 10:48:26


Staff Reporter,

Cops evacuate Empress Mall as relatives of deceased stay put with dead bodies till late evening

The aggrieved families called off their 10 hours long protest only after Empress Mall administration gave each of them Rs 50,000 cash as immediate aid

Aggrieved relatives of three sanitary workers on Sunday protested at Empress mall with the dead bodies demanding proper compensation to kin of the deceased. Carrying the bodies, the relatives stormed into the mall and staged a sit-in for over 10 hours. The trio had died of asphyxiation while attempting to clear sludge from a well at residential apartment of Empress City.

The aggrieved family members moved into the mall at 3.30 pm with bodies of Dipak Mahadeorao Gawate (45), a resident of Sugat Nagar; Ajay Maroti Garodi (45), a resident of Ladpura, Pachpaoli, and Chandrashekhar Jagobaji Barapatre (43), a resident of Naik Talav, Bangladesh.

The bodies wrapped in white sheets were kept on ground floor inside the mall and around 400 relatives sat near the bodies. The Mall administration was taken aback at the audacity of the people and promptly called the police for help.Ganeshpeth police arrived at the spot and initiated talks with the protesters. The protesters demanded proper compensation for the family members.

DCP (Zone III) Rahul Maknikar and ACP Rajratna Bansod also arrived the spot and tried their level best to pacify the protesters. As Empress Mall administration refused to give into the demand of protesters, the bodies remained in the premises. The aggrieved relatives insisted on written assurance and till then refused to take the bodies for cremation.

Congress leader Bunty Shelke, Shiv Sena leader Suraj Goje and others to sympathised with protesters and backed their demand. As stench from decomposing bodies started becoming unbearable, three deep freezers were hired and the protesters promptly hooked them upto power supply at Mall and continued with protesters.

MLA Vikas Kumbhare and BJP leader Pravin Datke also met the protesters and assured Rs two lakh compensation from Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. The protesters would not be lured by these assurance and they wanted written assurance about compensation from Empress Mall administration.

Finally, after hectic back channel talks, Empress Mall administration gave in and provided Rs 50,000 cash as immediate aid to each of the family. Also they promised major amount in compensation to be provided within a week, said ACP Rajratna Bansod.
This finally broke the impasse and the protested left Empress Mall with the bodies at 10.30 pm.

The case

The three sanitary workers were daily wage labourers. They were engaged by a contractor for desilting the well on Saturday. They were lowered into the well one-by-one with a rope. After a while they passed away, ostensibly due to suffocation as carbon dioxide was present at the bottom of the well. One of them shouted for help and two others fell unconscious. Co-workers immediately called Fire & Emergency Services of Nagpur Municipal Corporation and police. A rescue team arrived at the spot and started operation.
The rescue team pulled three workers out quickly and rushed them to Government Medical College & Hospital where the doctors declared them dead on arrival.

Empress Mall shut down

On Sunday, Empress Mall is visited by sizable crowed and hence sensing trouble post arrival of protesters, DCP Rahul Maknikar ordered shutting down the Mall to prevent any untoward incident. After receiving orders from the police, the Managers at Mall asked all shops to down shutters for the day and also ordered PVR theater to stop screening of the shows midway. All customers and employees of the mall were asked to move away from the Mall.

Five booked, three arrested
Meanwhile, Ganeshpeth police have booked five persons including Pravin Tayal of KSL Group and owner of Empress Mall for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The other accused booked by police are identified Pravin Tayal, a resident of Mumbai and owner of Empress Mall (KSL group); Khushboo Agrawal, Chief Manager, Empress Mall, her assistant Komal Rayjode; Pradip Bhawate, a labour supervisor and his assistant Sameer Bhumiraj Takone (37), a resident of Ganeshpeth.
The accused are booked under Sections 304 and 34 of Indian Penal Code. The cops have arrested Khushboo, Sameer and Komal on Sunday. They will be produced in the court on Monday.