This is a story of the unsung heroes of our society that many of us are still unaware of. These heroes work day and night to make our lives better. Still not clear who these are?
These heroes are the sewer cleaners of the city. These workers are poorly paid who get no benefits as other people in a government job gets. They work all day cleaning a sewer that is full of stinking decomposing materials. Their health deteriorates but they do not complain to anybody and quietly continue the work. According to an article in the LA times, these workers even work on the holidays that is when all others are relaxing they are busy cleaning the s**t spread by other.
Such is the story of a manhole sewage cleaner worker Raju. Raju is now forty years old and has spent the last twenty – four years cleaning sewers. The death of his father who worked in the same line forced him to quit his education and work for the family. He was recently transferred to the manhole cleaning squad, manhole cleaning is considered as the most dangerous in this profession, there have been multiple reports every year of people dying thin the manhole due to harmful gases. Basically, when the sewage decomposes it releases many dangerous gases like Carbon monoxide and other gases which can be really harmful to the body.
The person whom Raju replaced in the work was found dead inside the same manhole when he was thirty – four and the reason was the gases. Nevertheless, Raju decided to join the work as it was paying a little high though he knew that his life is now at a much larger risk than before. The average life span of a sewage worker is only 60 years, many die at a very young age that is before forty years.
After a month of continuous work in the manhole, Raju felt nauseous and was admitted to the hospital where he stayed for at least two months before he lost his battle to the death. He was just 45 years old. Lack of regulations and safety equipment for everyone really results in this kind of disasters. Does human life have no more value? Are these workers destined to die for us? Are some of the millions of questions that are raised in the court every single day by activists to which answers have not been found till date.
Many say that majority of these workers are Dalits and they are assigned to do this their entire life, this has been the tradition of the caste system and all, But ask yourself, do we really believe in all this after so so many years of its abolition. Is their caste the reason they work there or is it the lack of opportunities, education that forces them to do so. This is a matter of debate which should ake place soon, otherwise many honest and hardworking workers like Raju will lose their lives.