Kidangoor (Kottayam): An on-duty employee of the Kerala Water Authority met with a tragic end when a slab caved in and dropped him into a 13-meter-deep well at the pump house of the Kavalippuzha Drinking Water Project near here on Sunday morning.
Rajesh Kumar, 37, of Sastha Sadanam at Kadayam, Pala, was recording the power-consumption reading when the slab on which he was standing collapsed around 8am. The two-foot-wide slab covered a manhole. The pump house was constructed over the concrete surface covering the well.
Kumar was alone when the tragedy occurred and was about to finish the shift duty.
Though those plucking jackfruit in a neighbouring compound responded to the screams, they failed to locate Kumar. Later, another employee who was to take over duty from Kumar found the collapsed slab and informed the police, and fire and rescue department.
The well was half full, and the only way into the well was through the manhole. Lack of oxygen in the well hindered the rescue operation. Fire and rescue personnel and scuba divers from Kottayam brought out the body around 9.30 am. Kumar’s jaw was found injured.
Alleging foul play, Kumar’s wife Shaiby lodged a complaint with the Kidangoor police. She said KWA did not inform the family of the accident.
Son of the late Ramachandran and Sumathy, Kumar had joined work through Employment Exchange two months ago. Besides mother and wife, he is survived by Amritha Lakshmi and Aradhya Lakshmi. He will be laid to rest at his residential premises at 3 pm on Monday.
Kavalippuzha Project is one of the oldest drinking water plants in the district. Local residents said no action has been taken on complaints about the pathetic state of the pump house. The cement has peeled off at several parts of the pump house. KWA staffers said the slab’s weak state led to the tragedy.