A 37-year-old contractual sanitation worker suffocated to death after he got trapped inside a drain while cleaning it in north Delhi’s Wazirabad on Sunday. Teams of the National Disaster Management Authority, the National Disaster Response Force and the Delhi Fire Service were deployed to trace the worker after he went missing. His body was pulled out late in the evening. According to the police, a call was received at 3.15 p.m. about a sanitation worker, hired to clean a clogged drain, being trapped inside. A police team rushed to the spot and also alerted the fire department. When fire department personnel failed to trace the missing worker, the NDRF and the NDMA were called in.Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Nupur Prasad said the worker, identified as Krishan, was a resident of Sri Ram slum cluster. “We will register an FIR under relevant sections of the IPC at the Wazirabad police station. We are trying to trace the contractor,” she said. The workers told the police that they had been hired by a contractor, identified as Anil, at ₹400 per day and had not been provided safety kits. The cleaning work started around 9 a.m. with two workers entering the drain at a time. “Around 1.45 p.m. Krishan and I entered the drain and on the way back I found that he was missing. I tried to locate him but could not. I immediately informed the other workers and the contractor,” said Manoj, adding: “When we failed to trace him, we informed the police. But by the time the police reached the site, the contractor had fled.” “The drain is full of toxic gases, our oxygen cylinder ran out in just two hours. How could the workers clean the drain without any safety gear?” asked a NDRF man, who wished not to be named.