Delhi: Four Killed While Cleaning Septic Tank, Were Allegedly Warned They'd Be Fired If They Refuse
On Sunday, five men aged between 18 to 30 died after inhaling toxic gases, while cleaning a septic tank. The incident happened at a residential complex in Moti Nagar, West Delhi. Four died at the spot and one died during treatment.
Around 3:30 pm on Monday, five men – Vishal, Umesh, Raja, Pankaj and Sarfaraz, who worked as labourers and were employed on a contract basis by JLL, stepped into the septic tank of the P tower in DLF Capital Greens residential complex. Four died on the spot and one while being treated in a hospital.
The police said, as per the preliminary inquiry the five men went inside the 30-foot deep sewer tank without any safety gear.
“They were forced to go inside”
Other co-workers of the deceased said that the men were hired as housecleaning labourers and cleaning the septic tank was not a part of their duty. They further claimed that their supervisor had threatened them to clean septic tank; otherwise, they would lose their job. Their colleagues also said that no belt or mask was provided to the workers while they were going inside the tanks.
As per reports, the fire and emergency services personnel who took the five men out from the tank also fell ill soon after inhaling the toxic fumes.
While speaking to The Indian Express, DCP (West) Monika Bhardwaj said that late in the afternoon, she received a call from Acharya Bhikshu Hospital that four labourers had been brought dead to the hospital from the site. She also said that the fifth one- Vishal was alive when he was brought to the hospital and was referred to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, where he died during the treatment.
A case has been registered under IPC Section 304-A (for causing death by negligence) and other sections, further investigations are on, she added.
“We will take action against the contractor or the person who allowed them to climb into the tank,” Bhardwaj told The Times of India.
Meanwhile, the DLF has come up with a statement claiming that JLL firm was responsible for providing services at the complex. They further said that “JLL is known for its high-quality safety standards and service, but they are still awaiting the detailed report from JLL. We are sure that JLL will take all measures to take care of the families that have been affected due to the unfortunate incident.” However, JLL was not available for any response, as reported by The Indian Expres.
Angry protesters outside the DLF complex
On Sunday at around 9 pm, a crowd of atleast 200 people gathered outside the gates of DLF Capital Greens complex. The angry mob was demanding actions and answers for the death of the five men.
The 19-year-old, Sarfaraz father was among the crowd. “My only son had a housekeeping job in the tower. The contractor will have to answer why he entered the sewage treatment plant,” said Mohammad Hayyul, who runs a pawn shop, reports The Indian Express.
The family of Vishal (19), was grieving about his death at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. The family claimed that had recently signed up for graduation from Delhi University’s School of Open Learning.
The Logical Indian Take
A year back, three manual scavengers died in the capital city of India and there was a bit of outrage over it, but we didn’t learn any lesson. This time five lives were lost and that too in a high profile residential complex. The labourers were forced to go down the septic tank and threatened with removal from the job if they didn’t do as asked. They were without safety gears. The DLF comment on the incident is deplorable and is one of not taking responsibility for what happened. A proper investigation is much needed and those involve should be given stricest of punishments to set an example.
It is also our responsibility that to not ignore such incident and to see that those who are employed in cleaning of septic tank are given proper safety equipments and wage.