4 killed, one critically injured while cleaning septic tank in Delhi
Four men were killed and one critically injured on Sunday while cleaning a sewage treatment plant in west Delhi’s Moti Nagar on Sunday afternoon, police said.
The incident took place around 3.30pm, when the five men, who work as labourers, stepped into a deep sewage treatment plant of the DLF Capital Greens, a residential complex in Moti Nagar.
Survivors and colleagues of the four workers alleged that cleaning the septic tank was not a part of their duty but they did it as they had been threatened that they would be sacked if they refused. They also alleged that they were not provided a safety belt or masks.
A spokesperson for DLF said that the sewage treatment plant is managed by JLL— a service firm.
“JLL is known for its high quality safety standards and service. We are waiting for the detailed report. We are sure that JLL will take all measures to take care of the families that have been affected,” a statement issued by DLF said.
Phone calls to landline numbers mentioned on JLL’s website went unanswered. HT mailed a query on the media enquiry section of the JLL website, but there was no response till late on Sunday night.
Monika Bhardwaj, deputy commissioner of police (west), said a case of causing death by negligence and under other Indian Penal Code sections will be registered at Moti Nagar police station. She said that there were “multiple” firms for whom the labourers were working. “We are still in the process of identifying those responsible for the deaths. We will make arrests after that,” said the DCP.
The four deceased have been identified as Umesh, Raja, Pankaj and Sarfaraj — all aged in their 20s.
The fifth worker, Vishal, has been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of RML Hospital.
According to Kapil Kumar, one of the workers who was allegedly instructed to get into septic tank, the workers were housekeeping staff from three different firms. “Cleaning the sewage treatment plant is not a part of my duty. When I objected, I was told not to report for duty anymore,” alleged Kumar.
His colleague Umesh was told to step into the plant, Kumar said. “Soon after Umesh stepped into the plant, he fell unconscious. Another worker entered to check on him, but he too fainted. Later, three others entered one by one, but they all fainted,” alleged Kumar.
Kumar’s colleague, Uday Bhan, alleged that he then ran out to seek help from his superiors. The fire department and police were informed and they pulled out all the five workers and rushed them to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital where four of them were declared brought dead. “They died of asphyxiation,” said the DCP.
Sumit Kumar, who claimed to be one of the old housekeeping staffers of the society, alleged that repeated attempts to seek safety devices for such duties had so far fallen on deaf ears.