Despite manual scavenging being a banned practise as per the Supreme Court orders, a sanitary worker died while cleaning choked sewage line on Noorwala Road of Ludhiana Friday. The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation shifted blame on private company which was hired for the job.
None has been booked as police filed inquest proceedings for ‘accidental death’ on statement of family of deceased.
Azhar Ali (42) died while cleaning the sewer line on Noorwala road in ward number 3 of Ludhiana. He was an employee of a private company which was hired by MC.
Subhash Desawar, state convenor of Safai Karamchari Andolan, said that Ali lost consciousness when he was inside sewer line after inhaling toxic gas. His body was dragged inside the gutter due to water pressure from backside and it floated till few feet before it was taken out by other workers. He had already died when taken out.
“This is the seventeenth death in Ludhiana since 2007 and 45 deaths have happened in Punjab since then. Is this how much SC guidelines being followed? Why was he even made to enter the sewer? Also, he was sans any safety gear which is mandatory. Ludhiana MC is washing its hands off saying it was responsibility of private company,” he said.
Ludhiana MC superintending engineering Rajinder Singh said that a Jalandhar based company was hired for three years for cleaning some areas and as per contract, it is their responsibility if some untoward incident happens. “We will take required action against company but it is work of police to tell why FIR has not been registered. It was company’s work to provide mask etc to the worker. He was their employee, not ours. Due to water pressure, his body was dragged in sewer line. He had died when taken out,” he said.
ASI Roop Singh from Basti Jodhewal police station said that as per statement given by family of deceased, it was an ‘accidental death’. “We have filed inquest proceedings under section 174 of CrPC as son of deceased said that his father died in accident during work. Autopsy will be done tomorrow,” he said.