The municipal corporation (MC) here is apparently waiting for a tragedy to happen. Learning no lessons from the past incidents in the tricity, workers in SAS Nagar are still being made to clean sewers and manholes without safety gear.
Kishan Pal, who is a sewerman with the civic body, had got his eye damaged when he was working in a sewer.
“A few months back, I was cleaning a sewer when dust fell into my eye. I lost the vision. Cleaning sewers is mandatory for workers like me.”
“No safety gear such as mask, gloves, safety rope and oxygen cylinder are provided to us when we enter the dirtiest of place. Gases inside are poisonous and one can choke to death. Such accidents have been reported in the tricity, still no one seems to be concerned about out wellbeing,” said Avtar, another sewerman.
On papers, it is mandatory to provide mask, gum boots and oxygen cylinder to sewermen when they are on the cleaning work.
For a meagre monthly salary of Rs 7,200 , the sewermen risk their lives, and majority of them suffer from skin diseases, said a sewerman.
Though MC officials claim no sewerman is asked to enter a manhole as they have suction machines. But that is not the truth. The MC has only one suction machine for the entire city, which makes is amply clear that civic body’s claims are far from reality.
MC commissioner Uma Shankar Gupta said, “Safety kits have been provided to sewermen but they don’t use them. And I have issued clear directions that no one will be deployed without safety equipment. If this is being done, we’ll take action against the officials concerned.”