Sewer deaths: Jal Board denies awarding contract to any agency

Faith Castro
August 8, 2017

All three men, who had been hired by the Delhi Jal Board, went one of one to check the disappearance of the previous worker.

Three sanitation workers died and one is battling for life at a city-based hospital, after inhaling toxic fumes in a sewer pipe they had gone to clean at Lajpat Nagar in south Delhi on Sunday afternoon. "In cases where machines can not reach, beldaars are pressed into service", he said.Safety equipmentThe Minister also claimed that even beldaars are allowed to enter sewers only after being equipped with proper safety gears such as gas detectors, masks, gloves and gum boots.Earlier in the day, National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) chairman Manhar Valjibhai Zala directed the Delhi Police to invoke relevant provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 in the case.

Ram Prasad, a rickshaw puller who was among the eyewitnesses, said, "I was going to buy paan when I saw a group of 10 to 12 men standing around a sewer opposite the MCD office".

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"When I peeped inside, one man was lying motionless". The second man jumped in to rescue him but didn't come out.

Police have identified two victims as Joginder, 32, Annu, 28. "Our team reached the spot by that time", said an investigator. They were rushed to the AIIMS Trauma Centre where the doctors declared them "brought dead". Less than a month ago, four workers had suffered a similar death in Ghitorni. As per the reports, they too had inhaled toxic gases inside the tank. "We have taken legal action and registered a case under Section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC", said Mr. Baaniya. Cops have asked DJB for the list of contractors who might have sub-contracted the sewer work to Dinesh without authorisation and CCTV footage is being scanned for additional leads. Two persons were arrested in connection with the deaths.

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