| Debris of the water tank with one of the residential blocks towering behind. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Calcutta, April 1: A water tank in the city's biggest residential project, on Prince Anwar Shah Road, collapsed this morning killing two labourers taking a bath before joining the day's work.
One of their colleagues is now fighting for life in hos-pital.
Police said all four walls of the rectangular tank, measuring about 30 square metres, caved in on them around 4.30 am.
Birendra Rai, 33, died on the spot, while Rajesh Biswakarma, 35, succumbed to his injuries minutes after being admitted to a Salt Lake hospital. Jhantu Kumar, 27, is at the same hospital.
Police said the trio from Bihar was among 4,000 workers hired by Ahluwalia Contracts (India) Ltd, which is carrying out the civil construction part of the project.
A case has been initiated against the company on the basis of a complaint from some of the workers. 'We have received the complaint of negligence against the company. An inquiry has begun,' said H.K. Kusumakar, the South 24-Parganas additional superintendent of police (industrial).
He said a preliminary probe suggests that the tank, built three months ago for the daily use of workers who are living on site, was unable to bear the water pressure.
The Rs 500-crore project near Jadavpur police station sprawls over 31 acres. Once complete, it will have four residential towers, a shopping mall, a swimming pool, a club and a school .
After the accident, the workers prevented police from taking the bodies away demanding adequate compensation for their families.
Parimal Mahato, who lives adjacent to the tank, said: 'Hearing a loud crash, I rushed out and saw Rajesh and Jhantu screaming from under the rubble. We cleared it and got them out.'
Still in shock, he continued: 'Suddenly I saw Birendra feebly waving his hand for help from under the debris. He was buried deep and it took time to dig him out....'
Ratish Bharadwaj, the vice-president of the construction company, regretted the deaths. 'Those affected had adequate insurance coverage. Besides, the company will provide compensation as per its norms as soon as possible,' he added.
Local CPM members staged a demonstration at the main entrance of the project that falls under the Dhakuria Assembly constituency.
'We have submitted a memorandum to the police demanding workers' safety and compensation for the dead and the injured,' said Rana Mitra, a member of the party's zonal committee.
The local Trinamul Congress MLA, Saugata Roy, demanded the arrest of those responsible.