Sanitation worker dies in Delhi hospital sewer; 10th death in over a month

At least nine sanitation workers have died in sewers in a little over a month. Only last week, two brothers died in similar circumstances after they went in to clean a clogged sewage tank in Shahdara.
Earlier this month, three sanitation workers lost their lives in the sewer at Jal Vihar (pictured) in New Delhi.(Saumya Khandelwal/HT Photo)
Earlier this month, three sanitation workers lost their lives in the sewer at Jal Vihar (pictured) in New Delhi.(Saumya Khandelwal/HT Photo)
Updated on Aug 21, 2017 11:49 AM IST
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New Delhi, Hindustan Times | ByHT Correspondent

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.

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