After BWSSB, now the BBMP is putting its workers on the lower hierarchy at risk by asking them to clean sewage-filled storm water drains without any safety gear.

The workers were spotted lifting the muck with their bare hands, risking their life, as reported by human rights activists on May 23.After being brought to their notice, the Karnataka State Safai Karmachari Commission took note of the incident and is now considering sending notices to the BBMP storm water drain department.

Incidentally, there is a rule that for drainage or storm water drains, the administration should only use machines to clean them. But in Bengaluru, manual scavengers or pourakarmikas are made to do the dirty job. The latest incident captured contract pourakarmikas, who were seen cleaning storm water drains near Harohalli Cross near Tannery  Road. 

"The BBMP storm water drain department must explain the incident,"  MR Venkatesh, Chairperson Karnataka State Safai Karmachari Commission, told Asianet Newsable.

He further pointed out that the incident was made worse by the fact that the workers were in the drain without any safety equipment like boots, hand gloves and masks. The absence of the concerned engineer will also be mentioned in a notice that will be sent to BBMP, he said. 

Incidents like this are made even more grave by the recent incident of a BBMP worker being washed away in another storm water drain in Kurubarahalli in BBMP West Zone. 

The rescue workers, including National Disaster Response Force officials, had admitted then that many workers are trapped in these drains due to the presence of silt and sewage. But such repeated warnings seem to be ignored by the BBMP, which continues to risk workers.

Mayor G Padmavathi, who was not aware of the incident, said that she would summon the local contractor and also the BBMP storm water drain engineers and take them to task. "When there is a clear direction of not to involve any humans to clean drains, the BBMP cannot depute any workers. Action will be initiated,"  she said.