A 24-year-old sanitation worker died and another sustained injuries after allegedly inhaling toxic fumes while cleaning a manhole without safety gear in North East Delhi’s Shahdara Sunday. Police said the work was given to a private contractor by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).
The incident took place at the CBD ground in Karkardooma, near the BSES office. Over five workers under a private contractor were pressed into service to clean a 15-feet-deep sewer.
Police said the victim, Ravi, a resident of Sanjay Amar Colony, was the first worker to descend into the sewer. When he didn’t come out after some time, another worker called Sanjay (35) went into the sewer as well. When both didn’t come out, the other workers called police.
DCP (Shahdara) Amit Sharma said, “We received a call around 1 pm about the incident. A police team rushed to the spot and pulled out both the men, who were unconscious, using ropes and rushed them to Lok Nayak Hospital. Ravi was declared dead on arrival, while Sanjay is in critical condition and undergoing treatment.”
Police said a case has been registered at Anand Vihar police station against the private contractor based on a worker’s complaint. The contractor is absconding and police are investigating the matter.
In his complaint, the worker alleged they were called to work on the sewer on Saturday. Their contractor told them they would be paid Rs 350 per day for the job. As they couldn’t do the work that day, they were called the next day.
The contractor allegedly refused to give them safety equipment when he was asked to do so. After the two men fell into the well, he allegedly fled from the spot before police arrived.
Police said the men were forced to clean the sewer in order to earn their wages. Ravi had earlier worked with the private contractor on DDA and other private projects for years.
Despite several calls, DDA officials refused to comment on the incident.
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