Nepal | July 04, 2020

Man dies after falling into manhole

Anita Shrestha
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Kathmandu, October 27

A 38-year-old cyclist died today after falling into a manhole that had been left open for six months by Kathmandu Uptyaka Khanepani Limited in Kirtipur.

The victim, identified as Shyam Sundar Shrestha from Chagal area of Kathmandu metropolis, fell into the manhole at around midnight yesterday after the mountain bike he was riding hit the concrete slabs near the manhole in front of Laboratory Boarding School. The manhole was covered after the incident.

Locals said KUKL opened the manhole time and again for repairs, but did not put up any warning sign around it.

Kirtipur Police found Shrestha’s body at around 6:00 am today after local residents informed them about the incident. The autopsy will be conducted tomorrow.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Anil Kumar Khadka of Kirtipur Police informed THT that the victim might have died around midnight. “When we retrieved the body, the victim had blood in his mouth. He might have been rendered unconscious due to injuries and was not able to climb out of the manhole,” Khadka said.

The victim’s sister Subhadra said her brother was a follower of Swami Vivekananda and a yoga teacher who had left home at around 2:00 pm yesterday.

The victim, who was a bachelor, took care of his sexagenarian mother who had not been informed yet. “I want to break the tragic news to our mother only after the autopsy because it would be very hard for her to bear the loss,” she added.

Rohit Pandey, security guard of the Water Operation Branch Office, Kirtipur, said the manhole had been left open for six months. The slabs used for covering the manhole were kept haphazardly. He said dozens of people had met with minor accidents at that site before.

Advocate Sunil Ranjan Singh, who lives close to the accident site, said, had the authorities followed legal provisions and exercised caution, the tragedy could have been prevented. “By law, authorities that build or repair roads, water and drainage system, need to put up a fence around the area as well as warning signs, but there was no such thing at the incident site,” Singh said. He added that one of the gates of Laboratory Higher Secondary School with around 2,000 students was only two metres away from the open manhole. “We did complain to the KUKL time and again stressing the need to prevent accidents, but the staffers never heeded,” he said.

KUKL General Manager Mahesh Bhattarai admitted that local staffers had acted negligently. “We are investigating and we will punish those responsible,” he added.

Senior Advocate Yadhu Nath Khanal said as per Section 182 of the new penal code, the staffers concerned could face jail sentence of three years if found guilty of criminal negligence.

A version of this article appears in print on October 28, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.

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