At least five sanitation workers died of asphyxiation in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad while cleaning a sewer for a water drainage project on Thursday.

They were suffocated to death while working, as they allegedly were not wearing any safety equipment.

The incident took place in Krishna Colony near Nandgram. According to the sources, when one of the workers did not come out of the sewer for a long time, four others went inside to check, one by one. But none of them came out alive.

They were hired by a private contractor, who was carrying out the project under ‘Amrit Yojna’ of the civic body’s water department. A criminal case has been registered against the contractor and others.

The Additional District Magistrate (City) and Water Department would jointly probe the incident.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of the deceased.

A similar incident in June occurred when four municipal corporation sweepers, three of them part-time workers, died of asphyxia at a public division disposal plant’s septic tank near Meat Market in Haryana’s Rohtak.

Earlier, National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) Chairman Manhar Valjibhai Zala had said that as many as 801 sanitation workers have died while cleaning sewers in the country since 1993.