Three labourers died after inhaling toxic gas while cleaning a sewage treatment plant of a local civic body in Maharashtra's Thane, police said on Thursday. The dead men were daily wage labourers and had no formal training in sewage cleaning, police said.
Police added that the labourers were hired by a civic contractor, but were not given any protective gear, like masks.
The incident took place on Wednesday when the labourers were cleaning a chocked valve in a chamber of the non-operational sewage treatment plant located in Thane's Mira Road.
Police said one of the labourers climbed down into the sewage treatment plant to clean it. He, however, felt suffocated and collapsed. When two other labourers went inside to check on him, they died after inhaling toxic gas.
The dead labourers were identified as Muzaffar Moulik (24), Rafique Mandal (50) and Mofjum (18).
Another labourer, 17, who also inhaled the toxic fumes, was admitted to a hospital where he was undergoing treatment, police said.
The bodies were sent to a local hospital for postmortem, the official said, adding that a probe was underway.
Earlier in Delhi, five sanitation workers lost their life after inhaling toxic fumes while cleaning a sewer near DLF flats in Moti Nagar area in Delhi. The incident took place on Sunday afternoon when all the five people aged between 22 and 30 years went to clean the sewer.
While two of them died on the spot, the other three breathed their last in Delhi's Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital.
"This is not the first incident such incident has taken place in the city. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government is clearly responsible for this incident. They had promised that technologies will be used for the cleaning of sewer, but even after so many deaths, same old methods are being used. They are playing with the lives of the innocents," said Bharat Bhushan Madan, Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Karol Bagh district president.
Sunita Mishra, Councillor of ward 99, where the incident took place, also condemned the incident and demanded a compensation of Rs 50 lakh each for the families of the deceased.