Hyderabad: Two Daily-Wage Labourers Suffocate To Death While Cleaning Manhole
Two workers died due to asphyxiation in Hyderabad after they went inside a newly-laid water supply pipeline near the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, in Uppal. According to the report, the two men had gone inside the pipeline to clear debris and silt.
The victims identified as Santosh and Vijay were both daily wage labourers from Odisha and had been staying in Uppal.
What police says
Police officials said “While the others were outside, these two opened the cover and got inside. There were some sticks and other materials used during the construction work. They had just begun clearing those when it is suspected that some poisonous gases were released.” They further added that after the release of the gases, the duo immediately lost consciousness and died due to suffocation. The entire incident occurred within 10 minutes.
The News Minute spoke to the investigating officer, Sub-Inspector Krishna. He said, the workers were hired to clear silt and debris from the pipeline, but it was not clear as to who hired them.
He said “As they entered inside, poisonous gases inside the chamber resulted in suffocation. We have retrieved the bodies and sent it to the state-run Gandhi Hospital for a post-mortem”.
“We are yet to register a case, but it will be done as soon as we gather all the details and file a preliminary report,” he further added.
The Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewage Board (HMWSSB), have taken cognisance of the incident and also ordered a probe, which will be led by Water Board Technical Director Satya Suryanarayana. They have announced ₹10 Lakh compensation for the family of both the deceased.
Manual scavenging is illegal
Manual scavenging is banned in India. Any contact between excreta and a labourer employed to unclog a drainage pipe or sewage treatment plant is prohibited by law and the occurrence of such a trespass or the non-provision of safety gear or disinfectants to the labourer will lead to the prosecution of the contractor and the employer – and rightly so.
The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 provides for the prohibition of employment of people as manual scavengers and the rehabilitation of manual scavengers and their families.
A study conducted by Basti Vikas Manch last year mentioned that at least 10,000 people enter sewage lines as part of their profession in Hyderabad. Furthermore, 30,000 people are employed to clean public toilets manually.
This includes workers who were hired to clean toilets at public places like railway stations and bus stops, and the GHMC employed another 50,000 as Solid Waste Management (SWM) workers, the study revealed.