Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died on Saturday after inhaling toxic fumes while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Vadodara district of Gujarat, officials said.
The incident happened shortly after midnight at Darshan Hotel in Fartikui village of Dabhoi tehsil, around 30 kms from Vadodara city, police said. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.
“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 told PTI.
Gujarat: Seven people including four sanitation workers cleaning a hotel’s septic tank have died, allegedly of suffocation, in Fartikui village in Vadodara. Details awaited.
A case has been registered at the Dabhoi Police station. The owner of the hotel has been charged with causing death due to negligence and culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Scores of sanitation workers die each year from suffocation while removing waste from underground drains in the country, where manual scavenging continues despite laws that ban it.
While government estimates peg the number of manual scavengers in India at anywhere between 14,000 and 31,000, the Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA), a collective of the sanitation workers, says the figure is closer to 7.7 lakh with nearly 1,800 sewer cleaners suffocating to death in the last decade.
Most sanitation workers are pushed into the profession over generations, finding it difficult to get other work because of caste-based barriers, experts say.