MADURAI: Pressing for the arrest of the people responsible for the death of Solainathan, a manual scavenger from Heera Nager of Melavasal here, and demanding a compensation of `10 lakh, his relatives along with members of various political parties refused to accept his body.
Solainathan (24) died while cleaning a sewage manhole at a residential colony in Kochadai here on Saturday. His family members staged a road blockade in Madurai on Sunday.
Police said Solainathan, along with Kalidass and Udhayakumar, went to clean a manhole in an apartment complex. Solainathan inhaled poisonous gas on entering the manhole. Udhayakumar, who was following Solainathan, saw his condition and quickly came out.
The victim’s family refused to accept his body. They relented only after the resident association issued a cheque for `2 lakh and promised to give `8 lakh more.
Meanwhile, the SS Colony Police registered a case against the members of Shanthi Sadan Association, including Balaguru, the secretary of the residential welfare association, under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act and Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act on Saturday. Further investigations are on.
Following the incident, the Madurai Corporation has planned to conduct a fresh survey to see how many manual scavengers are present in Madurai.
Madurai Corporation Commissioner Sandeep Nanduri said here on Sunday that the corporation had conducted a survey to compile a list of manual scavengers, after two contract workers of the Madurai Corporation died due to asphyxiation at HMS Colony here in October 2015.
An alternative livelihood plan was also drawn up to rehabilitate them. “However, fearing loss of work, manual scavengers have been refusing to get enlisted for the rehabilitation,” Nanduri said.
Following Solainathan’s death, the Corporation plans to conduct a fresh survey to identify the people working in sewage cleaning, apart from the contract workers or corporation workers.
“Through them, the civic body will identify manual scavengers. Later, we will counsel them about the rehabilitation process that we have planned for them,” the Corporation Commissioner added.
Meanwhile, the Corporation has planned awareness meetings on manual scavenging for all sectors, including hotel owners and apartments members. The programme will be held on Monday.