M A I N   N E W S

Crane touches live wire, three dead in Ludhiana
Victims part of camera team covering Shivratri celebrations
Mohit Khanna/TNS

Ludhiana, February 20
Three persons were electrocuted to death while 15 others suffered shocks and burns after a crane carrying a video camera team came in contact with overhead high-tension wires in Focal Point Phase-VIII area in the city today. Four of the injured are in a serious condition.
Victims’ kin mourn in Ludhiana.
Victims’ kin mourn in Ludhiana. Photo: Himanshu Mahajan

The victims identified as Sanjay (38), Gurjit (35) and Umesh Kumar (28) were part of the camera crew covering a religious programme to celebrate Shivratri.

The incident took place in the afternoon when Khasari Lal Yadav, a Bhojpuri singer and actor from Bihar, arrived at the stage to perform. This led to a sudden rush as the enthusiastic crowd pushed the camera crew.

Police sources said Sanjay lost control over the crane and the camera came in contact with the high-tension wires with 11,000 volt of current. This led to an explosion.

The impact was so severe that Sanjay, Gurjit and Umesh were charred to death, while Davinder Singh, Udhav Singh, Manoj Kumar and Niranjan received serious burns. Nine other unidentified persons also received electrical shocks and sustained injuries. They were rushed to nearby multi-speciality hospital for treatment. Sanjay, Gurjit and Umesh were declared brought dead by the hospital authorities, while the condition of Davinder Singh, Udhav Singh, Manoj Kumar and Niranjan was stated to be serious.

The programme was organised by Manoj Gupta, Munish Gupta and Anand Mittal. The noted industrialists of the city, the trio organises this programme every year to woo migrant labourers. The Bhojpuri singer was invited as a crowd-puller. Kavarjit Singh, SHO, Focal Point, said the organisers had taken prior permission to organise the programme. Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspur was on the stage when the incident took place.

Harish Rai Dhanda, former Chief Parliamentary Secretary, has demanded Rs 5 lakh as compensation for the victims and Rs 2 lakh each for the injured.

Chitranjan, a leader of labourers, has demanded a probe into the incident. “The incident was destined to happen. The organisers as well as the authorities were aware of the high-tension wires. How the administration allowed the organiser to conduct a programme in the middle of the road and how the camera crew was allowed to use the crane is beyond my imagination,” said Chitranjan.

Rahul Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner, has ordered a magisterial probe into the tragic incident.

The police has registered a case against the organisers under section the 304-A of the IPC.

While the cell phones of Manoj and Munish were switched off, Anand Mittal, a member of the organising committee, blamed the camera crew for the incident. “The camera crew was arranged by the labourers. The crew was aware of the presence of the high-tension wires. So, they could have positioned the crane accordingly. How can they blame us for the tragedy?” asked Mittal.

Stampede-like situation

Nearly 30,000 migrants were attending the programme. The incident led to a stampede-like situation and the migrants were seen running for cover. The venue turned into a graveyard of sleepers. Hundreds of agitated labourers gathered at the hospital and demanded the arrest of the organisers.





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