Rajasthan Septic Tank Mishap: Poisonous Gas Claims 3 Lives, Including 2 Cleaners, in Bharatpur Village

Eyewitnesses revealed that when two workers were overcome, others attempted to rescue them, resulting in a total of five individuals being affected by the poisonous gas.
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Bharatpur- In a devastating accident in the Lakhanpur police station area of Bharatpur district in Rajasthan, three individuals lost their lives while attempting to clean a septic tank.

The incident occurred when two workers entered the tank for cleaning but were overcome by poisonous gas, prompting the house owner to jump in to rescue them.

Tragically, all three individuals succumbed to the toxic fumes, while two other workers remain in critical condition.

The accident took place on Thursday morning around 7.30 AM at the residence of Indra Sharma in Nagla, within the jurisdiction of the Lakhanpur police station.

Sharma had hired laborers to clean his septic tank, but during the process, poisonous gas began to accumulate, leading to suffocation and subsequent fatalities.

The septic tank was 30 feet deep and the cleaners had emptied four to five buckets of filth when suddenly they complained of suffocation. Sharma along with two neighbours entered the tank to rescue the workers and were trapped themselves.

The two critically injured workers have been admitted to RBM Hospital in Bharatpur for urgent medical treatment.

Upon receiving information about the incident, the police promptly arrived at the scene and initiated an investigation. The deceased have been identified as cleaning workers Akash (25) and Karan Singh (22), along with the house owner, Indra Sharma. The bodies of the deceased have been transferred to the hospital mortuary for further procedures.

Eyewitnesses revealed that when two workers were overcome, others attempted to rescue them, resulting in a total of five individuals being affected by the poisonous gas.

Despite strenuous efforts by bystanders, it took considerable time and difficulty to extract everyone from the tank. Sadly, three individuals lost their lives on the spot, while the remaining two were rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

The incident has caused shock and grief in Nagla Mai, with residents reeling from the tragic loss of lives. This tragic incident serves as a reminder of the dangers associated with manual labor in hazardous environments and stresses on the urgent need for strict safety protocols to prevent similar accidents in the future.

The Hazards of Manual Scavenging

Manual scavenging, the arduous task of cleaning, transporting, and disposing of human waste from dry latrines or sewers, remains a stark reality across India.

Often relegated to those at the bottom rung of the caste hierarchy, this dehumanizing practice not only inflicts humiliation but also perpetuates systemic discrimination. Despite being outlawed by legislation, manual scavenging persists due to governmental neglect in enforcing the law and providing adequate rehabilitation for workers.

According to the Supreme Court’s order, it is a crime to force a human being to enter a sewer line, unless it is an emergency, but not without the required safety gears.

The reason for criminalising humans entering into sewer lines is the really high probability of death due to the inhalation of poisonous gases. Due to the negligence of the government, workers are forced to enter manholes and subsequently die of asphyxiation.

Government Ordered Mechanized Cleaning of Septic Tanks in Rajasthan

In July 2020, the Congress government had prohibited manual scavenging of septic tanks or sewage chambers across the state.

In an official directive, the state government instructed relevant officials to ensure that septic tanks or sewage chambers are cleaned exclusively using machines.

The order read, "All district collectors and city corporation officials have been instructed to guarantee that no worker is required to enter chambers for cleaning. This task must be entirely mechanized. There should be no incidents of fatalities resulting from workers entering chambers for sewage cleaning." However, despite stringent measures, the directives have been overlooked, and similar fatalities continue to occur.

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