No lessons learnt after Tragic Sunday

Mumbai :  Despite the deaths of three labourers in a sewer on Sunday, five to six workers could be seen cleaning drains near Kurla terminus on Wednesday without any safety equipment Worse, they were removing plastic bags and other floating debris with their bare hands.

Six sewage workers were seen cleaning  drains with their bare hands near Kurla terminus

When questioned, Chairman of the standing committee, Yeshodhar Phanse said; ”These sewage workers have been employed by railways and not the BMC. We had told them to use the necessary safety gear for sewage workers”.

Senior divisional engineer R J Yadav from the Central Railway said, “I am not aware that the contractor has not provided any safety equipment to the sewage workers and will look into this issue.”

They were not provided any plastic hand gloves, or a uniform which is must. They ideally should be equipped with goggles or a protective face mask, gloves, gumboots and a uniform. If the manhole is deep, oxygen cylinders are suggested. These oxygen cylinders not only provide fresh oxygen but also save a worker from the sudden rush of poisonous gases which have claimed maximum lives occurred during cleaning of sewage.

No solution can be seen in the near future to save the lives of these sewage workers as they neither get any life-saving safety equipment nor do the BMC and the railways have enough storm water suction machines. As of now the BMC has only 4 such machines and 2 have been ordered. These four machines take care of all the complaints across BMC limits.

Unless BMC and the railways do not take any drastic steps to ensure that every sewage worker gets a safety gear, more such deaths could be witnessed in the near future.

Vishal Rajemahadik

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