A 25-year-old died of asphyxiation while cleaning a septic tank in Express Avenue in Chennai. He was trying to rescue his brother, who was also working in the tank, when he himself collapsed.
According to sources, a contractor identified as Dandapani had taken 5 men to the Express Avenu mall to clean the blockage in a septic tank there. Arun Kumar (25) and brother Ranjith Kumar, of Ice House, had gone along with Yuvaraj, Ajithkumar and Sreenath. Ranjith had climbed into the tank and had begun cleaning it when he yelled that he was feeling dizzy. Even as Ranjith began collapsing, Arun jumped in and pulled his brother out to safety. However, having breathed in a huge amount of poisonous gas himself, Arun soon collapsed.
Arun's body has been taken to the government hospital in Royapettah and personnel from the Anna Salai police station had secured the area, but it is unclear if a case has been registered. Though manual scavenging was banned in 1993 by a specific law, there are at least 54,130 people engaged in this job as of July 2019, according to a central government survey. According to data released by the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry, Tamil Nadu has the highest number of sewer deaths in the country.