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Fatal jolt for phone worker

A 29-year-old man was electrocuted on Tuesday while repairing a non-electric telephone line along rail tracks between Adityapur and Gamharia in Seraikela-Kharsawan.

Debabrato Mallik, hailing from Diamond Harbour in Bengal, was an employee of Calcutta-based Mining and Engineering Pvt. Ltd, a contract firm associated with Indian Railways subsidiary RailTel Corporation of India Ltd.

Mallik was one among five technicians fixing optical fibre wires of an underground railway telephone lines on Tuesday afternoon.

While fixing the line, Mallik suddenly fainted. His colleagues rushed him to Tata Main Hospital (TMH), where he died at night.

Assistant sub-inspector and in-charge of TMH’s camp police station U.K. Singh on Wednesday confirmed it was a case of electrocution.

“We have recovered the body and sent it for autopsy after taking a statement from the officials of the Calcutta firm,” he said, adding that police would probe the matter.

Mallik was a bachelor and is survived by parents and a younger brother. At Jamshedpur, he stayed with his colleagues at a rented house near Tatanagar station.

Officials of Mining and Engineering Pvt. Ltd said Mallik could have received the jolt when the underground telephone cable, laid along tracks, came in contact with railway power lines.

The firm’s manager Prabir Pal confirmed that the optical fibre wire had nothing to do with electricity and the five technicians, including Mallik, were repairing the line sans any fear of an electric shock.

“The optical fibre must have come in contact with the power line, leading to the jolt,” he told The Telegraph.

Pal said the site was waterlogged. “As optical fibre cables do not conduct electricity, Mallik was fixing the telephone line by partially standing in water,” he said.

Pal added that according to a maintenance contract between Mining and Engineering Pvt. Ltd and RailTel Corporation of India Ltd, the former was responsible for fixing faulty telephone lines between Dhalbhumgarh and Rourkela.