7 die in sewer clean-up
Four sanitation workers and three hotel employees were killed on Saturday after inhaling toxic fumes from a sewer the workers were cleaning in Vadodara, Gujarat, officials said.
The incident happened shortly after midnight at Darshan Hotel in Fartikui village of Dabhoi tehsil, around 30km from Vadodara city, police said. The hotel had hired the workers to clean the sewer.
“The sanitation workers had been roped in to clean the sewer. When one worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside to check, but all of them died of asphyxiation,” in-charge district collector Kiran Zaveri said.
“We rushed to the site soon after learning about the incident and teams of the fire brigade from Vadodara Municipal Corporation and Dabhoi civic body launched rescue work. They took out the bodies of the deceased after three hours of efforts,” he added.
The hotel owner is absconding.
The incident occurred around 12.30am, police said. The victims fell unconscious after inhaling the toxic gases inside the sewer and died.
Sanitation workers should be provided with masks, gloves and other safety equipment before entering sewers, but this is often not done.
BJP MLA Shailesh Mehta, who represents the Dabhoi Assembly constituency, said the four sanitation workers were from the nearby Thuvavi village. The incident shows sheer disregard for the safety of the workers, he added.
The Gujarat government has announced financial assistance of Rs 4 lakh each to the kin of the sanitation workers. It said it has directed the police to take strict action against the hotel owner.