New Delhi, Sep 10: Five sanitation workers allegedly suffocated to death after inhaling toxic fumes while cleaning a sewer. The incident took place on Sunday afternoon when all the five people, aged between 22 and 30 years were cleaning the drain near DLF flats in west Delhi’s Moti Nagar area. Following the deaths, the AAP government on Monday ordered a probe into the incident.
The five deceased have been identified as Umesh, Raja, Pankaj, Vishal and Sarfaraz. Two of them died on the spot, while the other three were declared brought dead after being brought to Delhi’s Deen Dayal Upadhyay hospital, reported news agency PTI. The victims were reportedly not provided safety belts and masks.
Co-workers of the deceased alleged that they were forced to clean the septic tank and it was not part of their job. “Cleaning the sewage treatment plant is not a part of my duty. When I objected, I was told not to report for duty anymore," Kapil Kumar, one of the workers who was allegedly instructed to get into the septic tank, told Hindustan Times.
Umesh was the first who went into the sewer. “Soon after Umesh stepped into the plant, he fell unconscious. Another worker entered to check on him, but he too fainted. Later, three others entered one by one, but they all fainted,” Kumar alleged. According to Monika Bhardwaj, deputy commissioner of police (west), they died of asphyxiation.
A spokesperson for DLF said that JLL— a service firm manage the sewage treatment plant. "JLL is known for its high-quality safety standards and service. We are waiting for the detailed report. We are sure that JLL will take all measures to take care of the families that have been affected,” a statement issued by DLF said.