Jason Burke in Delhi
A man in India has died after being buried alive by workers who did not see him lying unconscious at the bottom of a pothole.
Officials in Katni, in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, are investigating the incident and have promised compensation to his widow.
The 45-year-old man, named as Latori Barman, was walking home from a fair when he fell into a large hole in the road, Indian media reported.
“It was dark and there were no warning signs. He would have been walking in an inebriated condition when he fell into the pit between Udlana and Hata villages and lost consciousness. Workers must not have noticed him while filling the pothole with bitumen,” an investigating officer told the Times of India.
The newspaper added that the workers then used a heavy roller to flatten the surface. The accident “would have gone unnoticed had residents not discovered the man’s arm sticking out from the tarred road”, the paper said.
Police have arrested several road workers.
The death is the latest linked to India’s potholes, also called “killer craters”. A woman in her 20s died in the city of Bengaluru last week after the motorbike on which she was riding crashed, reportedly because of a pothole.
In one Indian city, residents resorted to naming individual holes after prominent officials to draw attention to the poor road conditions.
About 150,000 people die on Indian roads each year, with hundreds of thousands injured, often seriously. Most deaths are caused by poor driving, official statistics show.