Again, Three Sanitation Workers Gasp to Their Death in Sewers: Lajpatnagar, Delhi

PTI reports that three sanitation workers have died due to asphyxiation while cleaning a drain in southeast Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar on Sunday, police said. The incident was reported at around 1 pm, they said.The workers were cleaning a sewer line in Lajpat Nagar near the Kabir Ram temple. They had gone inside the sewer and inhaled toxic fumes and were later found unconscious, they said.

Sanitation Worker
File Photo

They were taken to AIIMS Trauma Centre where the doctors declared that they were “brought dead”.

Two of the victims were identified as Joginder (32) and Annu (28), while the identity of the third is yet to ascertained, police said.

In a similar incident just three weeks ago, four sanitation workers died of suffocation while cleaning a septic tank in south Delhi’s Ghitorni area. Five men had gone down to clean the tank in a household in the area but did not come out for long. They were later pulled out in an unconscious state by fire department personnel after an hour-long operation. They too had inhaled toxic gases inside the tank.

Sanitation workers across the country often work poor working conditions and without proper protection and tools. There is a lack of safety equipment and proper procedures are seldom followed, which puts the lives of thousands of sanitation workers at risk.

This is not the first time that such a tragedy has befallen the national capital. On July 15, ANI reported that four sanitation workers on Saturday fell into a septic tank in Ghitorni and that rescue operations are currently underway.
India Spend analysed data that suggested that Uttar Pradesh (UP), Bihar, Madhya Pradesh (MP), Assam and Chhattisgarh had India’s highest under-five mortality, higher stunting (low height-for-age) rates and higher prevalence of diarrhoea due to lack of “improved sanitation”–usually a house with its own latrine connected to a sewer or septic tank–according to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16 (NFHS-4).
Magsaysay Award winner, Bezwada Wilson had launched the Bhim Yatra between 2015-2016 with the message, “Stop Killing Us” addressed to the Central and State Governments. “These deaths are not accidents but political murder,” said Bezwada Wilson, National Convenor, Safai Karamchari Andolan, and organiser of the Yatra, which drew support from eminent citizens and jurists, such as V.N. Khare, Prabha Sridevan, A.P. Shah, Rajinder Sachar, Indira Jaising among others. Between March 2014 and March 2016, there were 1,268 reported instances of death in sewer cleaning.
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