Bishambar alias Kala (38) had saved the life of two sewer men who fainted inside a manhole on January 11, but neither the municipal corporation nor the government honoured him for his bravery.
A sewer man, Surinder Kumar, had gone inside a manhole (around 20 feet deep) in Abdullahpur Basti without any safety gear and died due to suffocation. Meanwhile, as Surinder did not return, two other sewer men — Vinay Kumar and Raj Kumar — went inside to look for Surinder, but fainted.
Kala, who is a contractual sewer man, then went inside the manhole, which was emanating poisonous gases, to check on them. Finding them unconscious, Kala brought them out of the manhole after which they were rushed to hospital.
Though without any fear Kala went inside the manhole to save his colleagues, he has never been honoured by the government.
However, the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation recently wrote a reminder letter to the Punjab chief minister to honour Kala for his bravery.
Federation general secretary Gurjeet Singh Jagpal said they have written to various officials, but Kala was never honoured. He should be honoured as the earliest.
The federation members also demanded the government to regularise Kala as he had put his life to risk to save others.
When contacted, Kala said he had been working with the MC for the past 20 years, but was still a contractual employee and earning nearly Rs 7,400 per month. “I just want that the MC should regularise me,” he added.
Though the incident highlighted that the MC ignored the safety of the sewer men who work in the absence of safety kits, it seems it has also neglected the brave work done by Kala.
The MC employees had then also staged protests against the MC for not providing proper safety gear to the sewer man.
When contacted, additional commissioner Ghanshyam Thori said, “I will look into the matter. We can recommend his case to the district administration for a bravery award on Republic Day.”