Grieving Family of Fallen Sanitary Workers Calls for Compensation and Improved Safety Measures

Tragedy struck on the morning of April 7 at the Sindha Green Pulses Mill in Hyderabad’s SITE area, claiming the lives of 27-year-old Uzmi Masih and his 25-year-old cousin Amir Masih. The young men, both fathers, succumbed to poisonous fumes after descending into a drain during an off-day, lured by the promise of extra pay.

Robin Gosh, Uzmi’s father, expressed heartbreak and frustration over the lack of basic safety measures at the site. “There were no masks, nothing to protect them,” he lamented. The situation worsened as the victims lay incapacitated for hours, with no rescue efforts made to retrieve them while they might still have been alive.

The grief is palpable among the families and neighbors of the deceased, who mourn the loss of their loved ones and the dire circumstances under which they worked. Raju, a brother of the victims, voiced a poignant demand for accountability and change. “Who will be the guardian for their little children now?” he asked, calling for the prohibition of unsafe labor practices and insisting on a thorough investigation into the mill owners’ conduct. He also urged for financial compensation for the children left behind.

Robin Gosh highlighted the vulnerability of daily wage workers, who are often driven to accept risky jobs due to financial desperation. “By offering a little more money, desperate people go out to do dangerous jobs thinking they will bring something home for their children,” he explained. “But this time it was us bringing home their bodies.”

The local community, represented by activist Ravi Tamboli, stressed the urgent need for employment solutions that align with the qualifications of the youth. “Our youth are educated, they have degrees. They should not be forced into doing hazardous work that may take their lives,” Tamboli asserted.

Despite recurring incidents, the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) and other municipal bodies in Hyderabad have not provided essential safety gear to sanitary workers. Experts argue that adopting modern methods and machinery for clearing drains would significantly reduce the risks faced by workers in this sector. The community continues to call for reforms that will ensure the safety and dignity of laborers, sparing other families from the anguish experienced by the Masih family.

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