Six workers working under a private contractor empanelled by Indian Railways were electrocuted to death after a cement pole they were erecting fell on a 25,000-volt overhead wire on Delhi-Howrah down line near Dhanbad in Jharkhand on Monday.
The incident happened around 11.30am and it disrupted railway traffic on the route for nearly three hours.
According to railway sources, the workers of a private contractor whose head office is in Delhi were engaged in erecting poles for the installation of mast lights on the railway line near Nichitpur railway halt, around 15km from Dhanbad. The installation of the mast was part of efforts to increase the speed of trains on the route.
“The contractor had not asked the railway authorities to switch off the electric lines while the workers were erecting the cement-made pole on which the mast would have been mounted. While the erection process was underway, the pole somehow got in touch with the adjacent high-tension electric wire leading to the electrocution of the six workers and they died on the spot. Another worker was injured but was released after primary treatment. Railway traffic was disrupted for a few hours and was restored soon,” said Dhanbad railway division's senior divisional commercial manager Amresh Kumar.
He added that compensation would be paid to the deceased family by the private contractor.
Four of the deceased have been identified as Sanjay Bhuiyan (Latehar), Suresh Mistri (Allahabad), Govind Singh and Shyamdev Singh (both from Palamau), while the other two are yet to be identified till the filing of this report.
Dhanbad divisional railway manager Kamal Kishore Sinha, who along with senior railway officials visited the spot, said that a probe would be undertaken by the railways and those found guilty would be punished according to law.
"While the district police would be conducting a probe on their end, the railways has also initiated a probe into the incident by a four-member high-level team and those found guilty would be punished according to law," said Sinha.
The four-member probe team comprises senior divisional security commissioner, senior divisional electrical engineer, senior divisional safety officer and general manager of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited.