One More Labourer Loses His Life While Cleaning Sewer In Delhi
A 32-year labourer died while cleaning a sewer in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri area. As per the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (northwest), A K Lal, the deceased’s name was Dooman Ray, and he was a native of Katihar in Bihar, according to the report by The New Indian Express. The Sewer belongs to Delhi Jal Board, which gave its contract of repairing and rehabilitation of sewerage in Jahangirpuri to KK Spun India Ltd.
A K Lal said “The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has given the contract to KK Spun India Ltd for repair and rehabilitation of sewerage in Jahangirpuri. Today at about 5.30 am, Ray went down in a sewer hole to open the valve and died”. Roy was working in the sewerage with three other workers. He was declared brought dead at the Max hospital where he was rushed after the accident.
The official statement released by Delhi Jal Board says that “The DJB is extremely sorry to hear about the loss. The matter is being looked into and action will be taken accordingly.”
National Human Rights Commission(NHRC) has issued a notice to the centre and Delhi government over the issue. It is addressed to the Delhi’s chief secretary and to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
As per the Indian Express, eyewitnesses spoke to the Police and told, “The victim was inside the tank for half-an-hour, before the other workers realised he was not moving. The exact cause of death is yet to be ascertained. However, as per preliminary investigation, when Ray opened the valve, water gushed into the tank and he drowned.”
Not the first and won’t be the last
In September, in Delhi only, five workers died after inhaling toxic fumes inside a septic tank. Manual Scavenging is a caste-based profession, which was first outlawed in 1993. As per the Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011, 182,505 families are engaged in manual scavenging in rural India. This year in January the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has kick-started a new survey recognizing the problem of manual scavenging.
This grave problem should not exist in a country who is competing with world powers in the international sphere, but back in their homeland, people are losing lives because the government is incapable of providing basic infrastructure to the public. There is a need for proper solution backed with thorough research and efforts to address this problem, also a law to prohibit such inhuman acts.
“One person has died every five days”
According to an inter-ministerial task force report, it was recorded that more than 53,000 manual scavengers are employed in 12 states. The Report was published in June, which covered only 121 districts in 12 states including- Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Haryana.
However, Bihar, J&K, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Telangana and West Bengal are yet to participate in the survey. The survey does not include cleaning sewers and septic tanks, and data from the Railways, which is the largest employer of manual scavengers, as reported by The Indian Express.
The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK), the statutory body has collated the number of deaths due to cleaning septic tanks. The data says that since January 1, 2017, on an average at least one person has died every five days while cleaning sewers and septic tanks across the country. The NCSK was set up by an Act of Parliament for the welfare of sanitation workers.