4 workers fall to death as tank scaffolding collapses

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Four workers were killed and two others seriously injured after the iron scaffolding erected to carry out maintenance work atop a 100-feet overhead water tank collapsed in Ashok Nagar in Lawspet here on Sunday.

The deceased were identified as Ezhumalai, 34, and Selvam, 35, of Muthialpet, Ezhumalai, 33, of Hanumanthai and Murali alias Kamalan, 32, of Thattanchavady.

Police sources said that the workers, engaged by a private contractor, were fixing iron bars on the scaffolding at a height of 80 feet to carry out maintenance and plumbing works in the overhead water tank. At around 10.15 am a few pipes, which were erected as support, gave way and fell on the labourers who, in turn, fell on the pumping house station of the overhead water tank located in the premises.

Ezhumalai and Selvam died on the spot while Murali and Ezhumalai succumbed to their injuries on the way to Jipmer hospital. Two other workers, identified as Mr Elaippan of Hanumanthai and Mr Raju of Vanarapet were seriously injured and admitted to the Puducherry Government General Hospital.

Learning about the tragedy, Electricity Minister T. Thiagarajan, accompanied by MLAs M. Vaithianathan and Ashok Anand visited the spot. Tension mounted after relatives of the victims and cadres of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) blocked the Muthialpet Road at around 5 pm demanding adequate compensation from the government for the families of the victims and a job for one member of each family.

Senior police officials including Superintendent of Police (North) S. Ramaraj rushed to the spot and pacified the agitators.

The road blockade was lifted after Lawspet MLA M. Vaithianathan said that chief minister N. Rangasamy had announced a compensation of Rs1 lakh to the families of each of the victims.

The police meanwhile detained the private contractor, Mr Murali, in connection with the incident. A case has been registered and further enquiries are on.

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