19-yr-old dies while cleaning septic tank in Bengaluru

19-year-old boy from Ballari dies while cleaning septic tank in Bengaluru

Though manual scavenging is illegal, the contractor, Marianna (50), hired the deceased Siddappa to clean the septic tank of a building managed by SSBS Jain Sangh Trust on Infantry Road. Marianna had promised Siddappa Rs 600 for the job.

A 19-year-old man from Ballari died while cleaning the septic tank and a contractor who tried to rescue him, is battling for life in hospital. 

Though manual scavenging is illegal, the contractor, Marianna (50), hired the deceased Siddappa to clean the septic tank of a building managed by SSBS Jain Sangh Trust on Infantry Road. Marianna had promised Siddappa Rs 600 for the job.

As soon as Siddappa got into the septic tank, he suffocated to death. Marianna, who went in to rescue Siddappa, also began to choke. Other workers shifted Siddappa and Marianna to hospital. Marianna is battling for his life in the intensive care unit of government-run Bowring Hospital with hypoxia. He is in on a ventilator as his lungs are filled with sewage.

The incident came to light around 3 pm on Saturday after Siddappa and Marianna were rushed to the hospital at around 12.30 pm.

Siddappa lived with his sister Gangamma and brother-in-law in the city in Kacharkanahalli near Lingarajapuram. He hails from Siruguppa taluk in Ballari district.

Activists from city-based Alternative Law Forum and People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) assisted advocate Narasimhamurthy in filing a complaint with Commercial Street police station.

Later on Saturday, the police registered an FIR against the manager, trustees and “other responsible officials” of the SSBS Jain Sangh Trust.

The suspects were booked under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act and various provisions of IPC.

Construction workers who pulled out the duo from the tank were seen shouting slogans outside the mortuary against the government.

Marianna apparently owed Siddappa Rs 30,000 for his previous work.

Lekha Adavi, member of Alternative Law Forum said, “We are being told Marianna was a contractor from Tamil Nadu but we are yet to get his details. Nobody from the social welfare department or Safai Karamchari Commission came to the spot.” Adavi said the Marwadi trust gets the tank cleaned every six months and on Saturday, they asked Marianna to get a few workers to clean it.

“They could have asked the BWSSB to do it but since these workers are cheaper and their lives are also cheaper, they asked them to do it,” she said.“The management must be held responsible as they entrusted Marianna to get the job done. If the contractor survives, he will be one of the accused. One lower rung manager of the trust stopped talking after we asked him who heads the management.”

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