Sanitation worker dies in Delhi hospital sewer; 10th death in over a month
The lure of extra money turned out to be fatal for a sanitation worker who died on Sunday after entering a sewer at Lok Nayak Hospital in Delhi without protective gear, making it the 10th such death in a little over a month.
Rishi Pal and his three friends Bishan (30), Kiran Pal (25) and Sumit (30), were hired by a private contractor for cleaning the sewer on Sunday afternoon. The 45-year-old was reportedly promised Rs 650 for the job, much higher than his usual daily wage.
Sumit told reporters that at around 12.30 pm, Pal had gone inside a sewer in a park near gate number 2 of the hospital using a rope without any protective gear or ladder while others stood by.
“The sewer line was filled with poisonous gas. Within seconds, Pal fell unconscious and did not respond to our calls. Bishen and Kiran went inside but they also fell unconscious. We then took help of locals and brought them out,” he said.
The three men were immediately taken to Lok Nayak hospital, where Pal was declared dead.
Police have registered a case of causing death by negligence against the contractor.
Pal was the lone breadwinner of his family of three kids, a wife and his mother.
“To earn some extra money, my father volunteered to work today. He had left home this morning without even waking us,” his son Aditya (18) said.
Delhi minister for health and PWD, Satyendar Jain visited the injured at LNJP hospital. He has sought a detailed report and promised action on the basis of the report.
At least nine sanitation workers have died in sewers in more than month. Only last week, two brothers died in similar circumstances after they went in to clean a clogged sewage tank in Shahdara.
In the wake of so many deaths, the Delhi government has called an emergency meeting for Tuesday. It is also in the process of setting up vigilance committees to prevent more such deaths.
Most of these workers are hired by private contractors for a paltry wage of Rs 300-400 a day. They are not given safety equipments such as masks, gloves, glasses, mandatory for people undertaking such hazardous tasks.
The accused, Ashu, a resident of Panipat’s Nara village, killed the victims, reportedly his friends, between 8pm and 4am and travelled around 60km from the first crime scene in Matlauda of Panipat to Titawi in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli. The victims are Sonu, 26, who was working with a private contractor in a cement factory, and his two friends -- Monu, 25, of Nara village and Rakesh, 27, of Bhalsi village.
The Delhi government introduced the Happiness curriculum in 2018, Entrepreneurship mindset curriculum in 2019 and the Deshbhakti curriculum last year with the aim of inculcating problem-solving approaches among students and making them more self-aware, self-confident and socially responsible.
While the LG appreciated the work done at Indraprastha and Pul Prahladpur, he was displeased at the drainage system at Minto Bridge, flagging “technical flaws” in the drainage system and warned that engineers concerned “will be held responsible and strict action will be taken in the event of waterlogging at the site.”
BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said the MLAs were informed about the election process for upcoming election for Speaker’s post. “They were told that the election will be held through a voice vote or they may have to stand up to vote for their candidate if asked,” said Mungantiwar.
The weather department classifies rainfall between ‘trace’ and 2.4 mm as ‘very light rainfall’, as ‘light rainfall’ when it is between 2.5 mm and 15.5 mm, as ‘moderate’ rainfall when it is between 15.6 mm and 64.4 mm and as ‘heavy’ when it is over 64.5 mm in a single day.