LAHORE - Three sanitary workers choked to death while cleaning a manhole on Saturday afternoon in Formanites Housing Scheme near State Life Scheme in Kamahan, Nishtar Colony.
The rescue team reached the place of incident one hour after it was reported. Three lives could have been saved if the 1122 service had lived up to its past reputation and had come to the place of incident in time.
The incident took place at around 3 pm at Formanites Housing Scheme where the three sanitary workers were working privately. Khawar, son of Boota went into the manhole to clean it. Poisonous gases were emanating from the litter that had choked the sewer.
He cried out for help. His brother Shahzad and colleague Imran, son of Nazir went down into the sewer to save him. All three got trapped when the poisonous gases hit them. They cried out for help but to no avail.
People of the area called Rescue 1122 for help. The rescue team came to one hour late. The rescue operation was started too late as the three workers had choked to death in the sewer. Their dead bodies were recovered.
In the past many such incidents have been reported but there is little awareness among the sanitary workers that going into manholes to clean the sewers can be dangerous. You need special equipment including oxygen masks to work in such an environment. WASA provides such equipment but the sanitary workers who do work privately do not have access to such equipment and continue to endanger their lives by agreeing to do the work for money. It could not be confirmed from the department but reportedly sanitary workers were WASA employees who were working privately. It remains to be checked whether they were on leave or were working privately while on duty.