Vijayawada: The death of Gangaraju, who died due to floods inside a manhole has raised many questions. The Supreme Court directed that manual scavenging should not be encouraged and cleaning should be done using machines only. The corporation is giving contracts to firms along with these machines. Some contractors are grabbing both the machinery and the labour.
In Gangaraju’s case, he was not a regular municipal worker, but a daily wage labourer who was asked to clean the sewage on that fateful day. His work involved removing sand bags from the manhole so that the sewer doesnt get blocked. But, the contractor underestimated the flow of water which is why as soon as the sand bags were removed, water started gushing and Gangaraju was carried away with the current and lost consciousness because of the poisonous gases.
There is a probem of execution as the contractor knows of these hazards. But, does not follow the rules. The problem arises due to outsourcing work to others. The main contractor sub contracts work, who then gives it to someone else. This change of hands leads to the final contractor calculating his profit margin and reducing expenses. He tries avoiding machines and uses manpower. Many experts are requesting the corporation to avoid subcontracts, but, in vain.
The commissioner of Vijayawada municipal corporation said, “We are not using manual scavengers against the Supreme Court direction. We are outsourcing the work with machinery only. Either we provide our own machinery or they arrange their own machines. The death of Gangaraju is due to removal of dummy. Even that should be avoided.”