LAHORE  - Two children died after they fell into lidless manholes in two separate incidents in Shahdara, rescuers said Monday.

An official said seven-year-old Minahal and three-year-old Zain died as they had the accident in Fazal Park and Farrakhabad in Shahdara.

Police sources said the children were playing in the street when they went missing.

The families launched search for the minors in the street and nearby houses but after a considerable time they spotted Minahal lying dead in a manhole.

The family of Zain also started looking for the missing.

Rescue 1122 and police rushed to the spot soon after incident. The rescuers launched the operation and pulled out the bodies. Police handed over the bodies to the family after fulfilling legal formalities.

Later, the residents staged a demonstration against the city district government stating that the tragedy took place because of the sheer negligence on part of the local administration. They also chanted slogans against the provincial government for not paying heed to poor sanitary conditions in the suburb of Lahore. The protesters said that the authorities were informed about the open manholes on several occasions but they did not take steps to improve the sanitary system.  Sources said that the Lahore Water and Sanitation Agency Chief suspended four officials and formed a body to look into the matter. Meanwhile, Lahore District Coordination Officer has constituted a two-member committee to investigate the incident and to fix the responsibility.

Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif has announced Rs500,000 compensation for each victim family. The DCO and a representative of the provincial government also visited the residences of the victims to express sorrow and grief over the deaths.

The deaths of children after falling in an open manhole are not a rare incident in the provincial metropolis because of poor sanitation system particularly in the low-income neighbourhood and in the suburb of Lahore.

More than a dozen children died in similar incidents here in the Punjab capital during the last five years. The government has failed to improve the sanitary system in many parts of the metropolis.

In September 2013, a seven-year-old boy was found dead from the drain in Ghalib Market. Some passersby spotted body of the boy, clad in school uniform, in the drain at Zafar Ali Road and alerted the police. A 12-year-old boy drowned in the drain located near Bund Road at Double-Sarkan Stop in July 2010.