India News | Haryana: NHRC Takes Suo Motu Cognizance on Reported Deaths of Workers While Cleaning Septic Tanks

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New Delhi [India]June 20 (ANI): Following the death of two brothers in Sonipat, Haryana, after inhaling poisonous gases while cleaning a septic tank, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken cognizance of the case on its own initiative and issued notices to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police of Haryana.

In a press release, the NHRC said it had taken cognizance of a media report dated June 13, 2024, regarding the death of two brothers who inhaled toxic gases while cleaning a septic tank at a private packaging factory near Bazidpur Saboli village in Sonipat district.

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Her third companion from the same village is said to have survived the accident. The police have sent the bodies of the deceased for autopsy and a complaint has been filed against the factory owner.

In its press release, the Commission stated that it had found that the content of the news report, if true, raised a serious violation of human rights.

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“The negligence of the factory owner and the local authorities is evident as workers were reportedly not provided with safety equipment while cleaning the septic tank, despite the Commission reiterating the implementation of its recommendation dated 24.9.2021 and the Supreme Court guidelines to end manual hazardous scavenging by using machines and providing safety equipment to the workers,” the NHRC press release said.

It added, “Accordingly, the Commission has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police of Haryana seeking a detailed report in the matter within a week, including the status of the FIR registered in the matter, action taken against those responsible and the assistance and rehabilitation provided by the authorities to the next of kin of the deceased workers.”

By publishing these notices, the Commission also drew the attention of the competent authorities that its Recommendation on the protection of the human rights of persons engaged in manual sanitation or cleaning of hazardous substances mentions that in the event of the death of a sanitation worker while carrying out hazardous cleaning work, the local authority and the contractor/employer shall be held jointly and severally responsible and liable, regardless of the type of employment/occupation of the sanitation worker.

It further said, “Apart from this, the decision of the Supreme Court in Dr. Balram Singh vs. Union of India (WP(C) No. 324 of 2020) dated October 20, 2023, contains the specific mandate that it is the duty of the local authorities and other bodies to use modern technology for cleaning of sewers, etc.” (ANI)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from the syndicated news feed. LatestLY team may not have modified or edited the content.)

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