Five Men Made To Enter 14-Foot-Deep Manhole For UP Govt's Jal Nigam Work, Lose Their Lives
Five men died while working in a sewer in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad on August 22 despite the huge furore caused after the reports of multiple deaths due to manual scavenging surfaced and the promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to eradicate manual scavenging by 2019.
The workers were working inside a sewer line in the Nandagram area of Ghaziabad that is operated by a government agency. The workers had entered the 14 feet manhole without any safety gear on Thursday (22 August, 2019) afternoon to connect the one-and- a-half-foot-wide manhole to an under-construction sewer line in the area.
The Times Of India reported that the work was ordered by the UP Jal Nigam and was carried out by a private contractor under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme.
An FIR has been filed, and four Jal Nigam officials were also suspended.
According to the eyewitnesses, one worker had first entered the underground drain. Sensing trouble the second person followed but failed to return. The remaining three entered the sewage to look for the first two. None of the workers returned.
The witnesses called the cops at the scene and recovered the bodies. None of the workers was given any safety or protective gear before entering the sewer.
The bodies were identified as Damodar, 40, Shiv Kumar, 32, Sandeep, 30, Horli, 35, and their supervisor, Vijay Kumar. All the five belonged to Bihar.
According to reports, the contractor fled from the spot. Media reports suggest that all the victims were rushed to the nearest hospital but could not be saved. Their bodies are kept at the hospital and authorities have gone there to take stock of the situation.
The Yogi Adityanath led UP state government announced an ex gratia of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of the family and also ordered for an immediate probe into the incident and sought a response within two days.
Sewer Deaths In India
Manual scavengers losing their life while doing their job is not a new mishap in this country.
According to the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis’ report, around 801 sanitation workers died due to manual scavenging in the country since 1993. This means manual scavenging kills 30 people every year.
In the period of the last 25 years, the state of Uttar Pradesh has witnessed 78 deaths.