The National Human Rights Commission on Thursday directed the Haryana and Gujarat governments to submit a report in six weeks on the deaths of seven sanitation workers last week.
Four sanitation workers had died on Tuesday after they inhaled poisonous gas while cleaning a septic tank in the Jakhoda village in Haryana’s Jhajjar district. The police have registered a case of accidental death and are conducting an investigation.
On the same day, three sanitation workers had died after entering an underground sewage drain at Dahej taluka in Gujarat’s Bahruch district. The police are conducting an investigation into these deaths as well.
On Thursday, National Human Rights Commission said that workers were reportedly not provided safety gear in both incidents.
“Just because the incident has occurred on private property, this cannot allow the authorities concerned to get rid of their responsibility of supervising such hazardous activities being conducted under their jurisdiction,” it said.
The human rights body added that media reports on the incidents indicate negligence of authorities.
“State governments’ reports must inform the action taken against the erring public servants and the status of relief and rehabilitation provided to the aggrieved families,” it said. “These must also contain steps taken or proposed to be taken to spread awareness and to sensitize the public at large towards zero tolerance of the death of sanitary workers.”