Tribune News Service
Patiala, October 12
A sanitation worker died from inhaling toxic fumes while cleaning sewer lines in Rajpura town, officials said on Monday.
Officials identified the victim as Sanjeev Kumar, and said another worker, Vicky Kumar, has been admitted to a hospital.
They were cleaning sewers at Talhi Wala Chowk.
Rajupra Executive Officer Ravneet Singh said that the man was employed at the municipal council but that the civic body “did not carry out sewer works (sic)”, which he said came under the sewerage board.
“He could have been working privately but it is yet unclear. Our inspectors have been directed to find out how the man went into the sewer line,” he said.
Manual scavenging continues to pose a massive challenge to the country despite a 2013 legislation called the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act (Manual Scavengers Act) banning it. The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment said in its reply to a question in Parliament earlier this year that 282 people had died of asphyxiation in septic tanks and sewers across the country between 2016 and November 2019.
Critics have pointed out that the deaths are grossly underreported and could be much higher.
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