VIJAYAWADA: Apart from continuing to employ the banned practice of engaging humans to clean sewers, the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) also failed to lay down any safety conditions in its contract with a private firm that was engaged to clean the sewers of Vijayawada.
After the death of two sanitation workers while cleaning a drain in the Bhawanipuram locality of Vijayawada this morning, the contractor, D Srinivas, said the tragedy was entirely the responsibility of the VMC authorities.
The municipal officials did not keep him informed before ordering his employees to clean the drain at Bhavanipuram without any safety gear, he said.
Srinivas also revealed that his contract with VMC did not hold him responsible for the safety of workers. He said the municipal authorities are to be blamed for not providing safety equipment to sanitation workers.
The twwo contract sanitation workers, one of whom only happened to be there to invite his fellow workers to his daughter’s wedding, died of suffocation in the sewer. Another worker who went to their rescue fell unconscious and has been shifted to the New Government General Hospital where his condition is critical.
The incident, coming just a week after the death of three workers in a manhole in Bengaluru, underlines the serious breach of the Supreme Court ban on manual scavenging in India.
In the Bengaluru incident too, three sanitation workers were summoned in the dead of night by the subcontractor and ordered to go down a 12 ft manhole without any safety equipment.