Reacting to the spate of sewer and septic tank deaths, Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri expressed “serious concerns” and stressed on the need to entirely shift to mechanised cleaning of sewers.
Addressing a gathering at a Swachh Bharat event organised by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) at India Gate Sunday, Puri said, “A good portion of the Rs 300-crore sanctioned by his ministry for the three municipal corporations of Delhi would be spent on procuring mechanised sewer cleaners”.
Officials from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs admitted that the issue is not restricted to Delhi alone. “The deaths have led to an outcry in Delhi because it is the national capital but the practice is prevalent in several parts of the country. The minister has said it is totally unacceptable that this continues even 70 years after independence,” the official said, adding that the issue will be taken up in a ministry meeting soon. Following the deaths of a dozen sewer and septic tank workers employed by civic agencies over the last three months, the AAP government has ordered a ban on manual cleaning of sewers.
Across the country, over hundred such workers have died so far this year due to toxic gases inside sewers.
Puri also appealed to Delhi citizens and other establishments such as hotels, to refrain from dumping garbage into sewers so as to prevent its clogging. “We should give up the ‘we-litter-and-others-would-clean’ attitude,” said Puri.