HYDERABAD: Pulling up the state government and the Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) for their failure to have a clear policy to deal with drains and manholes in Hyderabad city, a vacation bench of the Hyderabad High Court on Thursday directed the authorities to file a counter affidavit explaining the steps taken to avert recurrence of deaths in manholes in future.
“Identify the private persons who are engaging casual labourers to open and go into the drains and manholes in the city in an unauthorised manner. Can they engage labourers for opening the drains? Do you think it right to pay ` 2 lakh as compensation whenever a worker dies in a manhole and wash of your hands?” the bench asked the government counsels while dealing with a suo motu case following the death of two labourers in a manhole in Sultan Bazaar area of the city recently.
In reply, the government counsels submitted that the authorities concerned could not identify the private person who engaged the two labourers on the day of the incident in Sultan Bazaar.
Another counsel representing the HMWS&SB said that the board had paid ` 2 lakh each to the family members of the deceased.
Not satisfied with the submissions of the counsels, the bench wanted to know about the assurance of the water board that it would ask the state to pay a compensation of ` 10 lakh each to the family members of the deceased.
When there was no proper response from the counsel, the vacation bench directed the board authorities to act on the issue forthwith.
While posting the matter to June 1 for further hearing, the bench directed the state home department to take steps for identifying the private person who had engaged the two labourers for cleaning the manhole in Sultan Bazaar area.