Labourer feared dead in drain collapse

Greater Kashmir

Srinagar, Jan 2: A labourer was feared dead when a drain he was working in collapsed at Kanitar at Hazratbal in city outskirts.
Eyewitnesses told Greater Kashmir that Mushtaq Ahmad Akhoon son of Ghulam Ahmad Akhoon of Tailbal was working inside a deep drain when a portion of it collapsed over him.
 “The labourer was caught under the debris,” they said, adding, “he cried for help but we couldn’t do anything.”
 The 30 feet deep drain is being constructed by the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA).
 Many LAWDA officials and scores of policemen started the rescue operation, but till 8 PM he couldn’t be rescued.
 The Superintendent of Police (Hazratbal) Javaid Ahmad Koul said the rescue operation was going on. “We are trying our best to locate the labourer,” he said.
 The SSP, however, said the LAWDA officials didn’t inform police immediately after the incident. He said a journalist informed him about the incident.
 A police official, wishing anonymity, said the PHE officials were not cooperating in repairing a leaking water pipe which was hindering the rescue measures.
 This is the second incident of its kind in the past one year, raising a big question mark on the techniques applied by the LAWDA while constructing the deep drains.
 In 2007, two persons died in a similar manner when a drain collapsed at Habak in city outskirts.
 The LAWDA authorities said the incident occurred because of the collapse of loose earth surrounding the drain.
 “Normally we place planks between the two sides of the drain. These planks prevent the drain from collapsing. But in this case, I don’t know whether these planks were used or not,” the LAWDA chairman, Mir Naseem told Greater Kashmir.
 The residents of Kanitar, Professors Colony, and Habak, said the LAWDA was taking too much time in constructing drains the area and connecting them with the main Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP).
 They said that in September this year a man was critically injured when he fell into a deep drain, which was open by the LAWDA.