The National Safai Karamchari Andolan has given an additional compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the family of Arunkumar, the 25-year-old Chennai man who died at the Express Avenue mall when illegally put to work as a manual scavenger.
According to a report in The Hindu, Jagdeesh Hirmani of the Commission met officials of the Chennai Metrowater and conducted a review of the recent manual scavenging deaths in the city. Inspecting Express Avenue mall where Arunkumar died while attempting to rescue his brother, the Commissioner asked the mall to provide a job to one family member of the deceased.
In November, the death of the young man from the city came as a shocker. Dhandapani, a contractor, had illegally employed five men to clean two water tanks and a septic tank at the Royapettah mall. When Ranjithkumar, one of the men, first entered the tank for cleaning, he fainted owing to the toxic fumes. Arunkumar, who jumped into the tank to lift his brother out, died after being asphyxiated by the gases.
Ranjithkumar later revealed to TNM that the contractor had provided them with safety gear but only to pose for a photograph. The gear was taken away from the men prior to them entering the tank for cleaning.
According to the newspaper, police officials informed the Commission that a compensation of Rs 14 lakh had been provided to the family. Express Avenue had announced a solatium of Rs 10 lakh to Arunkumar's family.
As per reports, the Commission also visited Mogappair West where two men, repairing a Chennai Metrowater sewage pumping well, were asphyxiated to death in January this year. Prakash, a 24-year-old man from Padi, had fallen into the well while welding it. Kannan, 45, was lowered with a rope to rescue him and he fainted. Both men died by the time they were rushed to hospital.