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Vikash Sharma

Dhenkanal: Three truck drivers, who were stranded in Odisha due to COVID-19 lockdown, died under mysterious circumstances in Dhenkanal district. As per reports, all of them reportedly had fallen sick in front of Sakthi Sugars Ltd at Haripur on Thursday night.

One of them died on the spot while two others died at Dhenkanal district headquarters hospital and SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack. All the three deceased truck drivers hail from Bihar and were stranded near Sakthi Sugar Mills due to the lockdown.

Police officials informed that as many as five trucks were stranded at the spot following the lockdown and the drivers were supposed to carry spirit to a liquor manufacturing unit in Khurda.

Other truck drivers found the trio, who are said to be relatives, lying unconscious at the spot and alerted some staff of the Sakthi Sugar mills and subsequently all of them were rushed the hospital.

“Only after our security guard informed, we came to know about the incident. They were stranded along the NH and had no links with our company. One of the drivers yesterday informed that they were supposed to carry spirit to a company. The trucks were parked outside and nobody enquired about their presence due to the lockdown,” said Akhay Das, manager legal and administration of Sakthi Sugars.

Gyanaranjan Samal, IIC Dhenakal Town Police Station, on the other hand, suspects it to be case of food poisoning and further investigation in this connection is on.

“Five trucks were stranded near Sakthi Sugar Mills since April 13. Preliminary probe reveals that the three truck drivers were running a mess while another one was arranging his own food,” said Samal.

Samal further informed that the trio reportedly fell sick and two of them were shifted to Dhenkanal DHH and SCB and later they succumbed.

“The exact reason behind the deaths will be ascertained only after the driver who is still in Cuttack returns. We suspect it to be a case of food poisoning. We have sent the bodies for post mortem,” Samal added.

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