ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Are Sewer Deaths the New Normal?

Widespread mechanisation of sewer cleaning can prevent human beings from stepping into the death chamber.


The recent deaths of six sewerage workers in Delhi in two separate incidents form part of a continuing series of such deaths. However, the response of the authorities indicates a new normality. It is typical of all that is unacceptable and insensitive in dealing with those who are condemned to perform a task that is considered as crucial in the rhetorical language of swachh Bharat (clean India).

The pressure of poverty forces these workers to descend almost bare-bodied into sewers full of filth and excreta, fully knowing that they may asphyxiate to death as have many others like them. In the usual questions that follow these cruel deaths, the one that deserves an urgent answer is: Why must these workers get down into the filth as they do, when mechanised cleaning is available and has been mandated by law?

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Updated On : 9th Oct, 2018
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