HYDERABAD: Acting on a report published in the columns of The New Indian Express, the High Court of Telangana on Monday directed Chief secretary Somesh Kumar to appear before it on March 7 if the State fails to file an affidavit duly furnishing information on the number of manual scavengers who died in the State while performing their work, whether compensation of Rs 10 lakh was paid to their kin, whether a survey was done by the State to identify them and what steps were taken to put an end to manual scavenging.
A bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Abhinand Kumar Shavili took up as PIL the news report in TNIE on two sanitation workers, who choked to death while cleaning a septic tank in an apartment in Kondapur.
The standing counsels for GHMC and Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) informed the court that they had nothing to do with the payment of Rs 10 lakh compensation to the kin of the two manual scavengers who died.
Hearing both the counsels, the Chief Justice expressed his dismay on the activities carried out by the GHMC and HMWS&SB and observed that if these two departments disown the responsibility of payment of compensation to kin of the dead, then who will pay. Further the bench directed the Chief Secretary of Telangana to file a detailed counter affidavit within 10 days or appear before it.
In a similar issue, the apex court and several other High Court judgements had laid down that the State should take up a survey of all the manual scavengers, identify them, provide alternative employment and pay compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the dependents of deceased scavengers.