Bengaluru: Three men, who were hired by the residents of a posh apartment at Bandepalya in HSR Layout to manually clean the clogged Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) tank, suffocated to death in the 12 ft deep tank on Sunday.
The deceased have been identified as Narayanaswamy (35), in charge of the STP at ND Sepal Apartment in Somasundarapalya, Srinivas (56), a painter, and Madegowda, (42), an electrician at a garments factory. Apartment residents had contracted Narayanaswamy to look after STP tank and other civic works of the apartment. He called up Srinivas and Madegowda to clean the STP tank, promising them a good pay. The two had earlier too worked at the apartment as Narayanaswamy regularly gave them work on Sundays, the police said.
While Narayanaswamy and Srinivas died in the STP tank, Madegowda succumbed while being shifted to Columbia Asia Hospital.
The incident occurred around 11 am, when all the three set out to clean the STP tank at the basement of the apartment. One of them, it is not clear who, entered the STP tank, but he suffocated to death because of toxic gases inside. When he failed to respond, the other worker went in, he collapsed as there was no oxygen inside the tank. An alarmed Madegowda entered last, but he too collapsed. The apartment security guard, who was worried about the long absence of the three workers, went to check near the STP tank and did not get any response when he called out for them.
He immediately alerted the apartment association members, who called up the fire and emergency department, the police said.
Fire brigade personnel along with the Bandepalya police rushed to the spot, pulled the three out of the STP tank and administered CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). The three were rushed to St. John's Hospital, where they were declared brought dead.
A senior fire and emergency official said that the workers had no safety equipment before entering the STP. Additional Commissioner of Police (East) Seemanth Kumar Singh told Deccan Chronicle that a case of death due to negligence has been taken up at the jurisdictional Bandepalya police station.
"According to the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, manual scavenging is prohibited and employing people for manual scavenging is a punishable offence. The police are finding out those responsible for employing the workers and action will be taken against them. The apartment dwellers claim that Narayanaswamy was in-charge of the STP tank and he had hired the two others for manual scavenging. But there was no written agreement between the apartment dwellers and Narayanaswamy," Mr Singh said.
As the news spread, relative and family members of the deceased gathered at the spot and protested against the apartment residents association. Bengaluru Development Minister K.J. George and Mayor R. Sampath Raj visited the spot....