Mumbai: Manhole workers to get protective gear

The BMC will issue a circular to all its 24 wards to provide safety gear to workers

Following reports in mid-day about the civic body not providing proper safety gear to its workers who clean manholes, officials from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have given assurance that they will implement changes shortly. They have stated that they will issue a circular to all their 24 wards to ensure that safety gears reach the workers henceforth.

In 2006, the Bombay High Court gave out a directive to the BMC to provide safety gear to its conservancy staff, especially the ones cleaning manholes. The Supreme Court had also issued similar directives in 2011 and asked employers to not treat manhole workers as “mechanical robots”. But the BMC had failed to do so.

Earlier this week, mid-day had highlighted how a worker had entered a manhole in Lalbaug without any safety gear (‘BMC playing with lives of manhole cleaners’, claims workers union). A day after the report, this reporter discussed the matter with Vipinkumar Pande, chief engineer of Sewerage operations department, deputy chief engineer (city), Ravindra Kadam, Satish Narkar deputy chief engineer (western suburban), and Suman Waikar, deputy chief engineer (eastern suburban. Pande said that in the Central zone, safety equipments is provided to all manhole cleaners. “We will also look into the matter highlighted by this paper and take appropriate action,” said Pande.

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