Bengaluru Jain trust, where two men died while cleaning sewer, closed

Days after the manual scavenging deaths in the heart of the city, Jain trust stands shut due to the lack of permission.
Bengaluru Jain trust, where two men died while cleaning sewer, closed
Bengaluru Jain trust, where two men died while cleaning sewer, closed

An investigation by Bengaluru civic authority, BBMP, has found that the Jain trust, where two people who were made to clean the sewer illegally, was operating without permission to hold commercial activities.

The Jain trust now stands shut, the trust office was locked, and the official number is not receiving any calls. The manager hid behind a door and refused to speak to anyone.

When TNM visited the site, there was only the manager, a Jain monk who refused to answer any questions. “I don’t have any business with you. Go!” he said from behind a closed door, while making dismissive gestures.

On 25 January, 2 people, Sidappa, aged 17, and Marianna, aged about 50, died while trying to clean the sewage drain situated at the back of the trust. This is known as manual scavenging and has been deemed illegal in India. However, the practice continues.

The authorities from BBMP Sampangi Ram Nagar ward 110 visited the SSBS Jain Singh trust, which is situated on Infantry Road in Central Bengaluru, and found that they were conducting commercial activities without the required permissions.

In a notice, they asked the trust to furnish a business license, and permission from the BWSSB, regarding having an inner drain connection. However, the location has been used for many years for the same functions, with no action from the authorities.

Locals say that the location is routinely used to hold weddings and feasts. The government classifies renting out the premises as commercial activity, which the trust does not have the permission for.

However, the trust claimed that they only conduct religious activities on the premises, according to the notice pasted on their office by the BBMP.

BBMP in the notice says that commercial and wedding activities needs permissions under Municipal Corporation Act (1976).

According to a senior BBMP official, the trust has paid a fine of Rs 25,000 for conducting commercial activities on their premises. “It is a trust, and should not be conducting commercial activities. However, since they are doing so, they have been made to pay a fine.”

The official also said that the trust would be made to make a compensation of Rs 20 lakh to each family.

When TNM had met with the Jain trust’s manager on the day of the massacre, he had said, “They went inside to clean the rain water harvesting unit, where the water goes into the earth. It does not have any connection to the toilet,” he claimed.

However, the doctors at Lady Curzon Bowring hospital who was treating the victims, said that both Sidappa and Marianna’s lungs were filled with sewage.

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