Two persons died and a third was injured during work to clean a septic tank in Badarpur on Saturday afternoon. According to police, Satish Chawla (60) had contracted Manoj (41) and a labourer Devendra (40) to clean the tank in the basement of his four-storey building in Badarpur’s Molarband.
As Devendra stepped into the tank, he fainted due to toxic fumes. Both Manoj and Chawla jumped to save the labourer and fell unconscious as well, police and local residents said. While Manoj managed to make it out alive, Chawla and Devendra died of asphyxiation.
“We received a call at 4.45 pm that three men had fallen inside a septic tank. The SHO, along with police staff, reached the spot and it was found that Manoj had already been taken out of the tank. Fire brigade officials also reached the spot and pulled out the other two. They were rushed to Apollo Hospital but were declared dead on arrival,” said Delhi Police.
The tank is located at the entrance of the building owned by Chawla. According to locals, Chawla lived in a different locality in Molarband and had put this building on rent. The average rent of the 18 rooms varied between Rs 1,000-1,500 per room, locals said. Having retired from a private company, he was involved in real estate in the area.
Work on the septic tank started on Saturday when Manoj came with Devendra. The opening of the tank is situated at the entrance to the main corridor of the building, and Devendra was the first to step in. According to DFS chief Atul Garg, the labourer had no safety gear.
Eyewitnesses were alerted when commotion erupted after Devendra fainted inside the tank. Manoj then jumped in to save Devendra but he too felt nauseous. Within minutes, people gathered near the steps of the building and Chawla jumped in to save both of them, but soon passed out.
“Police had to be called. There was foul odour as the tank entrance was opened. One person was dragged out and his body was lying on the road outside. It was later we realised that Satish himself was one of the persons lying inside,” said Virendar Bhati, a neighbour.
Both Devendra and Satish were rushed to Apollo Hospital in Jasola. Manoj is currently being treated at Universal hospital and will be kept under observation for the next 24 hours.
A local resident said Manoj has been handling such work for over a decade. His brother Mukesh said: “He usually contacts daily wage labourers for the work. This is how he has been sustaining his family. But today’s incident has come as a shock – I saw him lying on the road motionless and I thought he died.”
Police said they have registered a case under IPC Section 304 A (death due to negligence).
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