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2 more lives snuffed out in sewer
More sewer deaths came out in the open as two brothers died of suffocation while cleaning a sewage tank of a shopping mall in Vishwas Nagar in East Delhi’s Anand Vihar on Saturday afternoon. A case has been registered against the mall management and an investigation is on. However, no arrests have been made as yet.
In the last two months alone, a total of seven sewer deaths were reported in Delhi in separate incidents. With Saturday’s incident, the toll went up to nine.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Shahdra district, Nupur Prasad said the father of the deceased, who was working with them inside the sewer, and a fireman, who went to rescue them, have been admitted to hospital after they too complained of suffocation and are currently under observation.
“50-year-old Yusuf and his sons Jahangir (24) and Izaz (22), went to clean a sewage plant at the Aggarwal Fun City Mall in Anand Vihar. The incident happened around 1 pm,” the police officer said.
He further said the men were hired by the management as private workers.
When asked about the deaths, the DCP said that the two didn’t have any safety equipment on and no one has been arrested so far.
The brothers were residents of Sahibabad, Uttar Pradesh, which borders Delhi.
“They collapsed due to suffocation after inhaling toxic fumes. Fireman Head Constable Mahipal who went to rescue them also inhaled the gas and felt dizzy. All were immediately rushed to Hedgewar Hospital,” DCP Prasad said.
Police said Jahangir was declared brought dead and Izaz died later during treatment. The DCP further said that Yusuf and Mahipal are undergoing treatment and will be kept under observation for the time being.
“We have also registered a case under Section 304 (Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code and investigations are underway. We have sent the bodies for post-mortem and are awaiting the reports,” said the DCP.
Meanwhile, Delhi Water Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam tweeted that the workers died while cleaning a septic tank in the mall but the police clarified that it was a sewage tank.
Last Sunday, three sanitation workers died due to asphyxiation while cleaning a drain in South-East Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar.
In a similar incident, four sanitation workers died of suffocation while cleaning a septic tank in South Delhi’s Ghitorni area on July 14.
In both the cases, lack of safety equipment for the workers came to light after the tragedy.
A section in the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act prohibits “hazardous cleaning” of a sewer or a septic tank without “protective gear and other devices and ensuring observance of safety precautions”. The reported cases are a violation of both clauses of the Act.
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