Five days after three sanitation workers died while cleaning a sewer line at Lajpat Nagar, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) submitted its interim report and reiterated that “it had not authorised” any work. It added that until the
private contractor was arrested by police, little headway could be made. On Tuesday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had directed the CEO of the DJB to conduct an “impartial inquiry” and asked for “an interim report within 48 hours”. He had also noted that “obviously the contractor was not doing the job for charity”.
The DJB was asked to explain who tasked the contractor with getting the sewer cleaned. Citing the report, a DJB source said, “It is impossible to find out unless the contractor is found. He is currently absconding. No one from the DJB had sanctioned the work.” In its report, the DJB also reiterated that it had not authorised any work in the south Delhi area on August 6.
While equipment found in the area had raised suspicion that the work had come via the DJB, the report maintained that the jetting machines used by private contractors are usually registered with the board. “The private contractor, who had allegedly deployed these workers to clean around 20 manholes, holds the key. The fact that he is evading police deepens our suspicion. But it is not clear as to who wanted the gutters cleaned.
It may have been the market association… but nothing can be said with any authority at this point,” an official said.