Expressing serious concern over the increasing number of deaths among sewerage workers, the Delhi High Court has slammed the municipal corporations and the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) for not providing even basic amenities such as full body suits to them.
At least 40 sewerage workers died while working in the Capital in the last six months. A bench of acting chief justice AK Sikri and justice RS Endlaw was furious that the authorities had not implemented any measures for the welfare of sewage workers, including health and safety, given by the court way back in 2008.
"When these basic facilities and amenities are required to be given to workers and non-providing of these amenities is resulting in the deaths of these workers, we fail to understand why such an attitude is adopted by these agencies," the bench said, while hearing a PIL filed by NGO, National Campaign for Dignity and Rights of Sewerage and Allied Workers.
Perusing a report filed by the court-appointed monitoring committee on the issue, the court found that the authorities were still in the process of procuring full-body suits.
Sewerage workers engaged by contractors were raw and sometimes even lacked the basic knowledge of cleaning. DJB offered just one-day basic training to all such persons.
"All these issues need immediate attention," said the court, while asking the monitoring committee to file a fresh status report by August 22, the next date of hearing. The court, in its 2008 order, had stressed the need for providing modern protective equipment to the workers. It had also asked DJB to provide workers with first-aid facilities, shelters and other amenities.