Amidst the controversy over the recent death of three manual scavengers in Bengaluru, two people were made to enter a manhole in Chitradurga on Wednesday night to clear the debris clogged in the pipeline of a public toilet run by a private company.
Three men died after entering a manhole in Bengaluru on March 6. Four days later, a contractor was caught red-handed while three men had gone down another manhole in LR Nagar slum in Bengaluru. The Social Welfare Minister, H Anjaneya believes that legalising manual scavenging will stop the problem.
According to a report by The New Indian Express, Chowri Maridas and Diwakar were made to get inside the manhole near Neelakanteshwara Temple located on Bengaluru-Davangere Road and were instructed to clear the clogged pipeline.
Mechanical devices can be used to clear the soak pits and manholes, however, the contracting firm which runs the public toilet chose to deploy men to do the work as it is cheaper.
After being informed of the incident, Comprehensive Maintenance Contract Commissioner Chandrappa went to the spot and issued a notice to Aravind Pande, the manager of the public toilet and also both the civic workers.
A complaint has been lodged at the Kote Police Station and Aravind Pande was arrested and booked under relevant sections of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act 2013.
Aravind Pande, however, has told the police that he had instructed the workers to clean the outer portion of the manhole and to not go inside.
The CMC commissioner said that the agency has safety gear and also equipment for clearing manholes. The incident took place without the knowledge of the health inspector, the TNIE report states.
The Deputy Commissioner of Chitradurga has directed the CMC commissioner to take disciplinary action against the manager of the public toilet, the report adds.