NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the chief secretary of Haryana seeking a detailed report on the death of four sanitation workers while cleaning a sewage tank in Hisar district.
The NHRC, in a statement, said the incident indicates that despite avoidable and unwarranted deaths in sewers and the sheer indignity of the work, hazardous cleaning of septic tank without safety equipment continues.
"The commission has been emphasizing upon use of machines for cleaning of septic tanks, sewage plants etc. and to ensure proper safety equipment for the workers but such painful incidents are taking place frequently," it noted.
The NHRC said it has taken suo motu cognisance of a media report that highlighted the death of four sanitation workers had died after inhaling toxic gases while cleaning a sewage tank at Budha Khera village in Hisar.
The commission asked the state's chief secretary to submit his report, including the action taken against the officers concerned and the relief granted to the victims' families, within six weeks.
"Due to negligence and apathy by the authorities concerned, precious human lives have again been lost. Their human rights have been grossly violated," the NHRC said.
Noting that the victims were in the 25 to 28 years age group, it said deaths of such young men in such tragic incidents could have been averted had proper precaution been taken by the authorities.
"Such incidents are indeed indicative of reckless attitude of the civic authorities violating human rights of the poor and innocent workers," it said, adding a large number of workers had died within a short span of time while undertaking the cleaning of sewage tanks.