A 32-year-old labourer died while cleaning a Delhi Jal Board sewer in Jahangirpuri, North Delhi, on Sunday morning, PTI reported. The deceased has been identified as Dooman Ray from Bihar.
The Delhi Jal Board had hired private firm KK Spun India Limited to repair sewer lines and Ray was purportedly given safety equipment needed to go into the hazardous area, Hindustan Times reported. A preliminary investigation indicated that Ray drowned after he opened a valve and water gushed from it, police officials said.
Delhi Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police AK Lall said that Ray was declared dead at the hospital he was taken to in Shalimar Bagh. The hospital informed the police about the death, he said. “We registered a case under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act to probe if there were safeguards in place and whether or not necessary precautions were taken,” Lall said.
Ray’s colleague, Vipin Mandal, said three other workers were on duty at the time of the incident. “We were using a dimly-lit torch during work as well as for the rescue operation,” Mandal told Hindustan Times. “A better quality torch with brighter light could have helped us.”
The police said they are awaiting a postmortem examination report.
Delhi Jal Board issued a statement promising action after an inquiry into the matter. “The DJB is extremely sorry to hear about the loss,” the statement said.
In September, five men died while cleaning a sewer at a residential complex in West Delhi. In August 2017, a worker died after inhaling toxic gases while cleaning a sewer tank at the Lok Nayak Hospital in New Delhi.