Septic tanks have turned gas chambers for workers: Sena

The Uddhav Thackeray-led party, heading the ruling coalition in Maharashtra, noted that despite the prevailing "clamour for cleanliness", it's not clear if anyone realises the sense of anger in families of sanitation workers who lose their lives while cleaning septic tanks or sewers. Photo/PTI

The Shiv Sena on Wednesday expressed concern over the death of sanitation workers in septic tanks and rued that neither the administration nor the society is sensitive towards their plight.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led party, heading the ruling coalition in Maharashtra, noted that despite the prevailing "clamour for cleanliness", it's not clear if anyone realises the sense of anger in families of sanitation workers who lose their lives while cleaning septic tanks or sewers.

The party made the remarks in the editorial of its mouthpiece 'Saamana' after three sanitation workers died due to suffocation after getting trapped in a septic tank they were cleaning in the premises of a residential high-rise in suburban Govandi on Monday.

The Sena alleged neither the administration nor the society is sensitive towards the fact that cleanliness has become 'Yamdoot' (messenger of death as per Hinduism) for the "true ambassadors of cleanliness", the sanitation workers.

The Marathi daily noted not only in Mumbai, but such deadly incidents have also occurred in Thane, Kalyan and Nashik in Maharashtra and in other states like Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, too.

Stating that septic tanks and manholes on roads have become "gas chambers" for sanitation workers, the Sena said, "Everyone, from the government to the society, has become proponents of cleanliness.

"But the same cleanliness has become Yamdoot for the sanitation workers who are the true ambassadors of cleanliness. But neither the administration nor the society is sensitive towards (the issue of their safety)."

Many people have lost their lives after slipping into open manholes on roads in Mumbai and its surrounding areas in the last few years.

The publication asked whether anyone will be able to fathom the anger and agony of families of sanitation workers who die in such unfortunate incidents.

The Sena, which also rules the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), did not name or specify any campaign as it talked about "clamour for cleanliness".

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a nation-wide cleanliness campaign, is one of the key initiatives launched by the Modi government after it first assumed office in 2014.

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