The labourers were not given any safety gear to clean the septic tank and received Rs 400 each for the work.

New Delhi: Two persons have died while cleaning a septic tank in Delhi’s Azadpur area, police said on Monday.

Three men fell unconscious in a factory that manufactures gold and silver chains in Azadpur’s G-Block while cleaning a septic tank, and two of them died as they inhaled toxic gases while cleaning.

The company that owns the factory is located in the GT Karnal Road Industrial Area, Bada Bagh. The police said the factory stores the chemicals used in making ornaments.

“Three of the seven men cleaning the tank fell unconscious. They were taken to the BJRM Hospital. On reaching the hospital, two of them – Idris (45) and Salim (45) – both residents of Khurja in Uttar Pradesh, were declared dead,” deputy commissioner of police (northwest) Vijayanta Arya.

Abdul Saddam (35), Salim (35) and Mansoor (38) were treated and discharged from the hospital. Islam (40) is still undergoing treatment at the hospital and is reportedly stable, the police said.

The labourers were not given any safety gear to clean the septic tank and received Rs 400 each for the work.

A case under relevant provisions of law has been registered and the factory owner and the contractor have been arrested.

What does the data say?
According to government data, on an average, six people died every month between 2015 and 2019 while cleaning sewers and septic tanks across India.

With 110 deaths, 2019 saw the highest number of cases in the last five years, according to the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis.

Though manual scavenging was banned under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, many continue to enter sewers and septic tanks without proper protective equipment.

Courtesy The Wire