Madhya Pradesh: Four Manual Scavengers Choke To Death While Cleaning a Septic Tank

The Logical Indian Crew

August 2nd, 2017

Manual Scavengers

Courtesy: Outlook India, The New Indian Express | Representational Image: Times of India

Four sanitation workers in Madhya Pradesh have died of asphyxiation while cleaning a septic tank at Bardu village of Dewas district on 31 July, as reported by Outlook India.

The deceased have been identified as Vijay (21), Rinku (18), Ishwar Thakur (38) and Dinesh (40), all natives of Dewas district.

Kamal Sendhav had hired these five men to clean the blocked eight-feet septic tank outside his house for a sum of Rs 8000.

SP Anshuman Singh, while speaking to The Logical Indian said, “One of the five men had cleared an amount of waste from the septic tank and then left to dump the waste. In the meanwhile, the four others climbed down into the reservoir with the help of a ladder.They were then choked to death most probably due to some poisonous gas being released deep in the tank. The postmortem reports are yet to come.”

“The matter came to light when the fifth worker returned after emptying the tanker at around 10 pm and created a hue and cry after spotting one of the men unconscious inside the tank. The police were called, and the bodies were retrieved at around 2 am in the night,” he added.

A case has been registered under Section 174 of CrPc and investigations are underway.

Earlier this month, four men had died by inhaling poisonous gases while cleaning a septic tank in Ghittorni area of South Delhi. Four of the five men anointed for cleaning the septic tank went in one after another, only to become unconscious by inhaling poisonous gases. It was because of the fifth man that alarms were raised, and they were taken to a hospital. However, four of the men did not survive the treatment.

A similar incident took place in January this year when three men died in Bengaluru’s C V Raman Nagar due to asphyxiation after they went into a manhole to fix it.


The Logical Indian Take

The Logical Indian severely condemns the incident where innocent lives are lost due to the insensitive and apathetic attitude of people. We urge the authorities to look into the matter and carry out proper investigation eventually punishing the one responsible for the deaths.

Manual scavenging is modern-day slavery. That it continues in the 21st century, India is something that should not only horrify and outrage us all but should also bring shame to us as responsible citizens of this country. At the same time, it is important that we ensure that further deaths due to manual scavenging do not occur.

The Indian government has banned manual scavenging through the Prohibition of Manual Scavengers Act, 2013. The law says, 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. However, effective implementation of the Act needs to be carried out to put an end to this horror in which over 12 lakh are involved, and over 22,000 deaths are reported every year.

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