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Death of Sewer : Septic tank sanitation workers continue unabated in Delhi

Death of Sewer : Septic tank sanitation workers continue unabated in Delhi

Eastern Times, New Delhi: A team of Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM) met the families of deceased in connection with the death of two sanitation workers who died on March 25, 2021 in Pearl Grand Banquet Hall in Gazipur.

The names of the deceased are Lokesh and Premchand who died while cleaning the septic tank of Pearl Grand Banquet Hall. The fact-finding team of DASAM met the families of the deceased living in Block 8 of Trilokpuri and also inquired about the incident with police administration.

The team went to the home of Lokesh (aged 40 years) and met his younger brother Umesh and his uncle Sanjay. They briefed the team about the incident. On the night of the incident, wife of Lokesh had called on Lokesh’s mobile phone. It was answered by Rahul, who just told her that Lokesh died while entering into the septic tank and hung up the call. Wife of Lokesh lives with her two children, a daughter aged 15 years and a son aged 12 years.

Lokesh did not have any experience of cleaning septic tank. He used to work as a peon in SBI bank on daily wage basis. “Rahul had called Lokesh for sanitation work and thereafter, the manager of Banquet Hall had forced Lokesh and Premchand to clean the septic tank”, said the family persons of the deceased.

Premchand (aged 41 years), another victim, was from Bairavaa community. He used to work as a waiter or loader in marriage parties. He also didn’t have any experience of cleaning septic tanks. Premchand’s wife lives with her two sons, Ankush and Sumit, who are studying in class 10th and 7th respectively. The elder son of Premchand is also suffering from a serious heart ailment and has been getting treatment since long.

The family of Premchand was also unaware of the incident and were informed about the death of Premchand only on 26th March morning at 7 am. They were told that he is in Lal Bahadur Hospital.

The fact-finding team then reached Patparganj Industrial Area Police Station to meet the investigation officer. They met ASI Rajpal there who told the team that the case has now been transferred to ACP, Madhu Vihar police station and the accused are charged under sections of SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.

The FF team reached Madhu Vihar police station to further inquire about the incident and met ACP Akshat Kaushal. He said that four persons have been arrested in this case who are Rahul (caretaker), Amir Khan (General Manager), Jimmy Johit Arora and Girish Mahendra (Director). Rahul is now released on bail as he belonged to SC community.

Some government agencies, owners of septic tanks and contractors are openly violating the Manual Scavengers Act, 2013 and the directions are given by Hon’ble High Court of Delhi. Due to this, poor dalit sanitation workers are being killed while cleaning sewer or septic tanks.

Details of last few incidents happened in Delhi: 22 March 2021- Contract worker Bijender Kumar died while cleaning DDA’s sewer in Narela. 02 February 2020- Ravi died while cleaning sewer in Karkardooma. 28 June 2019- Shahrukh died while cleaning sewer near Keshopur Bus Depot.

06 August 2017- Three sanitation workers died due to suffocation from sewer gas in Lajpat Nagar. 12 August 2017- Two brothers, Jahangir and Ezaz, died while cleaning sewer in the basement of a mall in Vishwas Nagar. 20 August 2017–Sewerage worker Rishipal died due to suffocation in sewer in LNJP Hospital.

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