New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission on Friday issued notices to Tamil Nadu’s chief secretary, DGP and a top civic body official after three workers were asphyxiated to death while cleaning a septic tank in Karur district. They have been given six weeks to respond, the NHRC said.
“The NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that three workers were asphyxiated to death while cleaning a septic tank at an under-construction house in Gandhi Nagar area of Karur district on November 15.
“The Commission has issued notices to the chief secretary, Director General of Police and the municipal commissioner, Karur, calling for reports in the matter. They have been given six weeks to respond,” the NHRC said in a statement.
The NHRC has asked the chief secretary to submit an action-taken report regarding fixing of accountability of authorities who entrusted the job of cleaning the septic tank besides details of compensation and rehabilitation provided to the next of kin of the deceased, it said.
The NHRC said the report should also specify about awareness and sensitization camps initiated by the state government to provide security cover to workers involved in cleaning of sewer or septic tanks as well as welfare schemes initiated or to be initiated for such sanitary workers. “Action taken report must also contain implementation of the advisory issued by the NHRC on 24th September, 2021 about the protection of human rights of a person engaged in hazardous cleaning and its outcome,” the NHRC said.
The Director General of Police has been asked to report the status of the FIR filed in this connection. The commission said the municipal commissioner has to submit a report specifying the public servant involved in the culpable negligence causing death by not enabling the workers to use safety gear and protective equipment while cleaning.
It should also specify the disciplinary action initiated against them as per the prevalent service rules, the panel said.
The commission also emphasised that in case of any sanitary or hazardous cleaning work, the local authority and the contractor or employers are to be held responsible and accountable jointly and severally irrespective of the type of hiring of the sanitary workers.