The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Maidan manhole death

Calcutta, Nov. 30: An uncovered manhole on the Maidan, the sprawling grounds where hundreds mill around every day, has claimed a life.

The body of a man in his early 40s was fished out of a Calcutta Telephones duct manhole, with its cover missing, along Casuarina Avenue near Victoria Memorial.

Police feel that the man, whose identity had not been established till late evening, could have stumbled and fallen into the six-foot-deep pit.

No one knows exactly when or how the tragedy happened, but around 10.30 this morning, Maidan police station received a call saying that a man was lying inside the pit, partly filled with water.

The hole is used by Calcutta Telephones personnel to repair underground cables.

Some days ago, a tea seller had fallen into the same lethal pit but had been rescued by passers-by.

The responsibility of maintaining the duct manholes rests with Calcutta Telephones, but officials said they were unaware that the covers had been removed.

“They may have been stolen, but it is the responsibility of the police to ensure that this does not happen,” said S.K. Bhaduri, general manager (communications), Calcutta Telephones.

The police said there were no major injury marks on the man’s body, only some blood seeping out of his nose. His hands were stretched upwards, indicating that he was trying to grasp at something to break his fall.

“I think he fell with a massive impact and suffered severe internal injuries which led to his death,” said N. Ramesh Babu, the deputy commissioner of police, south.

“ We have asked Calcutta Telephones to cover up all its manholes immediately.”

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