Jawaharnagar dumping yard turns into grave for rag pickers

Three women, who make a living by collecting scrap from the garbage at Jawaharnagar dumping yard, are feared buried alive under the mounds of garbage two days ago, the police said on Wednesday.

Efforts by the police of Alwal and Kushaiguda with the help of GHMC officials to trace them didn't yield results.

The searches that started from Tuesday afternoon were stopped by evening and would be resumed on Thursday morning, said Alwal Inspector Pushpan Kumar.

Sattemma (40), Andalu (30), and Kanakamma (36), all hut-dwellers from Yellareddyguda of Kushaiguda, left their homes for their daily grind of sifting the heaps of garbage, spread over nearly 300 acres at Jawaharnagar, on Tuesday morning.

Many families living around the yard toil in this fashion despite knowing the dangers of getting trapped if the heaps of garbage slide from the top and fall or poisonous gases emanate from there. On Wednesday morning, they went to the dumping yard looking out for the women. They couldn't find any sign of the women, but found some bags meant for carrying scrap which they thought belonged to the women. On learning about the incident, the police and civic authorities began searches at the place using a poclain.

This was not the first time that deaths of rag pickers at the dumping yard were reported. Three persons -- Mohd. Raheem (25), Syed Khaja (15), and Vasu (15) -- were buried alive in May, 2010 under the garbage. Their decomposed and mangled bodies were retrieved eventually.

Before that, a woman, Nagamma (42), also died in a similar incident there.

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