Yet Another Death: 25-Yr-Old Daily Worker Dies Inside Sewage Pit At Bengaluru School
In yet another case of manual scavenger death, a daily wage labourer who was engaged in manual scavenging work died while cleaning a sewage pit in an international school in Begur, Bengaluru. The incident reportedly took place on Saturday, March 2 when the 25-year-old victim identified as one Manu V, died of asphyxiation inside the pit at Jai Hind International School.
What had happened?
According to The News Minute, the police received the information after Manu was taken to the hospital where he was declared dead. The Begur police have arrested the owner of the school as well as the principal and the coordinator. Reportedly, the police, upon investigation, found that the administrators had sent him inside the sewage pit where he was working alone without anyone overseeing the work. It was only after a staff member of the school saw a lifeless Manu lying inside the pit was he taken to the hospital.
The accused have been booked under Section 304A (death due to negligence) of the Indian Penal Code and under various sections of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. A case has been registered against three people who hired Manu in the first place. Manu is survived by his wife, and his five-year-old daughter. His wife was not aware of the fact that Manu was engaged in manual scavenging as he had said that he was doing plumbing work.
Get robots to clean sewers
Jagadish Hiremani, member of the National Safai Karamchari Commission, who visited the school on March 6 said, “All the campaigns so far have been addressing safai karamcharis against manual scavenging, but it is the general public who need to be educated instead,” reported The Hindu. He also instructed the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials to procure robots for cleaning pits which costs up to Rs 3.5 lakh. It was also decided that a compensation of Rs 10 lakh will be given to the family which will be divided equally.
On the very same day, the police had received a complaint after a man went inside the manhole to clean sewage at JC Road in Bengaluru. The FIR was registered on March 7 while the incident was spotted by M.C. Srinivas, Vice-President of Madiga Dandora. “I was shocked to see one of the men descend into the manhole. They were being paid ₹500, and some had worked for 20 years like this,” said Srinivas to The Hindu.
Manual Scavenging banned in the country
In India, the practice of manual scavenging is banned since 1993 under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act. As per this Act, the law prohibits local authorities or agencies from employing a worker to clean sewers and septic tank as well.
However, the law has been faulted time and again. In just a month’s time, this is at least the third case in which people lost their lives while cleaning septic tanks. The other two incidents happened in Ghaziabad and Delhi.
On September 8, five men aged between 18 to 30 died after inhaling toxic gases, while cleaning a septic tank at a residential complex in Moti Nagar, West Delhi. Their co-workers claimed that the men hired as housekeeping staffs, were threatened to go inside the tank; otherwise, they would lose their job. Their colleagues also claimed that no belt or mask was provided to the workers while they were going inside the tanks.