Contractor dies saving teen scavenger from septic tank

Contractor who tried to rescue teen scavenger from septic tank dies

Four days after a teenager died cleaning a septic tank at the SSBS Jain Sangh Trust premises, the 50-year-old contractor who ventured to rescue him passed away in the early hours of Wednesday.

Bowring Hospital’s resident medical officer Dr C N Muralidhar said the contractor Mariyanna died between 2.15 am and 2.30 am in ICU. "At the time of admission, he had hypoxia," he said. "As a result of aspiration pneumonia that results in lower oxygen levels and high carbon monoxide, he developed respiratory distress. He developed septicemia and consequently died." 

He said the post-mortem was held between 11 am and 11.45 am at Victoria Hospital and the cause of death will be known by Thursday afternoon.

A Commercial Street police inspector informed Mariyanna’s family members, who live in Sarjapur.

The police have so far arrested the trust’s vice president Trilok Chand, who was produced before the magistrate and remanded to judicial custody, while three others are absconding.

The police have booked the manager, trustee, and other members of the trust, charging them under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act), Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, Section 341 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and Section 338 (causing grievous hurt by an act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code.

Up until 2020, at least 40 manual scavenging deaths have taken place, claiming 85 lives across the state. The Safai Karamchari Kavalu Samiti along with other organisations has demanded Rs 1 crore compensation to the family of 19-year-old Siddappa, who died cleaning the septic tank, and Rs 25 lakh to Mariyanna.

Activists have also demanded a legislative committee probe on the deaths taken place so far and their status of investigation and trial, and a report be produced within two months.